Both No. 14 Catholic and No. 15 Archbishop Spalding swept into the Catholic League tournament finals by scoring 3-0 victories in semifinal matches last night at the College of Notre Dame.
Top-seeded Catholic (15-1), the regular-season league champion, rolled over fourth-seeded Mercy, 15-2, 15-12, 15-6. Second-seeded Spalding (10-4) then needed to outlast third-seeded Seton Keough, 15-12, 15-12, 15-13, to make the championship, set for 4 p.m. today at the college.
Catholic, which lost to Mercy (9-7) in last year's final, dominated from the start. The Cubs used a mixture of excellent serving, good passing and well-placed shots to control the match.
The Cubs used the serving to help score the first 12 points of Game 1, the first seven of Game 2 and 12 straight in Game 3. They finished with 21 aces, led by Shelly Cerny (six), Angela Dockery (five) and five from League Player of the Year Michele Chilcote.
"This is a typical serving match for us," said Catholic coach Leo Matanguihan. "That's the way it's been all year."
The serving and accurate shot-making forced a tired Mercy -- playing its fifth match in six days -- into numerous errors. Catholic, which got help from Amie Robinson, Crystal Blair and ++ Cheryl Siebert, used strong serving to keep Mercy on the defensive.
Spalding took advantage of Seton Keough (8-7) errors to score come-from-behind victories in all three games. The Cavaliers never quit, finishing in style by scoring the match's final eight points.