Seton Keough's volleyball team didn't want to share the Catholic League title with anyone. That's why the Gators went out and swept Mercy off its home court yesterday, 15-13, 15-7, 15-9.
"What I was most impressed with today was our intensity level because that's what we've been talking about all season," Seton Keough coach Karen Janney said after watching her squad successfully defend its league title and secure the top seed in this weekend's Catholic League tournament.
"The intensity level was there today and they were talking and moving and hitting the ball hard and down."
The Gators came into yesterday's match with a 6-1 league record, and Mercy entered with a 5-2 mark. A victory by the Sharpshooters would have left the teams with identical records and a share of the league's regular-season crown.
It didn't happen.
Seton Keough (10-4, 7-1) raced to a 7-0 lead in the first game behind the serving of senior Teri Urban and took an 11-4 lead after an ace by junior Katie Loovis.
The Sharpshooters (7-4, 5-3) managed to pull within 11-10 on one of Meg Cline's three kills, but Seton Keough fought back and secured the opening-game victory on a perfectly placed spike by 5-foot-9 sophomore April Moore (four kills).
Urban's sinking services continued to confuse Mercy's back line and enabled the Gators to take an 11-1 lead in Game 2.
Seton Keough looked back only once -- when the Sharpshooters moved within five on an ace by Tricia Henry -- before Moore delivered the game-winner that gave the visitors a 2-0 lead in games.
The third game saw Seton Keough take its first lead of the match on the opening serve, but that was short-lived as Urban returned to the service line and reeled off four straight points for the hosts.
Mercy took its biggest lead of the match, 8-5, after an ace by sophomore Kristy Runyan, but lost a point and some momentum when it was penalized for serving out of rotation.
"Seton Keough is a tough team and you can't let a team like that get too far ahead," said Mercy first-year coach Jerry Hulla. "I think my girls did a good job, especially in the third game, but there was a lot of pressure on both teams and Keough just seemed to handle it a little better."