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LOUISVILLE - The Oldham County Lady Colonel volleyball team accomplished its preseason goal of getting to state, but a powerhouse Mercy team ended its championship dreams Saturday morning.
The Jaguars ran past OC 3-0 (25-16, 25-11, 25-16) in the state quarterfinals Saturday at Valley High School.
“We had a good game plan and we were healthy and prepared,” coach Vincent McDonough said about how his team went into the game.
OC was the stronger side in the first round Friday morning, dominating Hazard 3-0 (25-7, 25-8, 25-14).
But Saturday the Lady Colonels faced a tall, powerful opponent in the Jaguars from Mercy, who were ranked No. 2 and went on to lose in the state semifinals Saturday night to eventual state champion Assumption.
Mercy led early in the first set, only to have OC tie things up at 14 points each. The teams traded points until Oldham took a timeout at a score of 20-16. Mercy dominated through to the end of the set, not allowing another Lady Colonel point. The first set ended 25-16.
The Lady Colonels surprised Mercy in the second set, opening with a 2-0 lead, but that was the last time Oldham held an advantage.
The Jaguars came roaring back and went on a scoring run, hitting 22 points while the Lady Colonels stalled at eight points. OC battled for three additional points in the set that Mercy won 25-11
In the third and final set, Mercy hit the scoreboard first, but a soft touch play by senior Ashley Bell tied them up at two points each. Then OC took the lead on a serve from Marissa Turnage, making it 3-2. It would be the last time Oldham led.
Mercy hit its stride. After a few long volleys, Mercy led 10-6. Oldham kept fighting, staying within three and four points of Mercy until the Jaguars took a timeout when the score hit 17-12. OC had the momentum from a major block from Turnage and Myah Underwood.
But when they came back on the court, it was all Mercy. The Jaguars racked up the points and came out on top 25-16.
A deciding factor in the game was unforced errors made by the Lady Colonels.
“A quality team makes you put up unforced errors,” McDonough said. “Mercy doesn’t make many mistakes, so that magnified our mistakes. Mercy is a superior team in a lot of ways and we were not able to capitalize on the errors they made.”
McDonough highlighted the play of Kelsey Miller, Turnage and Leah Hollander, who was named to the all-tournament team after the game. Bell made key plays at the net to swing momentum for the Lady Colonels.
“Leah was on fire and the play of Kelsey Miller made a dynamic difference,” McDonough said. “And I can’t say enough about Ashley and Marissa. I know this game meant the world to them.”
It was the last game for seniors Turnage and Bell, but McDonough can rely on a strong group of juniors and sophomores to make a run at the state title again next year.
“I am extremely proud,” McDonough said. “I’m heartbroken for the kids. All season they had determination, focus and energy. It made them a very easy team to coach.”
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