The win at Mercer was a fitting finish for the seniors who were playing at home for the final time, and it was also a boon to the young players who will try to extend that string over the next four years.
"They're young, they're building. Next year they may struggle a little bit because my three seniors are good leaders out here and they have a lot of experience, but after that it should be pretty strong, so it's exciting to know that," Mercer coach Lynn Flach said.
Mercer's lineup for this match included two sophomores and an eighth-grader, and Flach's daughter, senior Taylor Flach, said those players and the other younger girls in the Titans' rotation have come a long way since practice began in July.
"From July to (now) its been amazing. We went from never playing before ... and girls who have never played varsity before starting, and it turned out really great," she said.
Flach, the Titans' starting setter for four years and by far the team's most experienced player, said it was also nice for her and fellow seniors Foley and Raven Coulter to win their district one last time.
"It's wonderful. It means a lot to me because I've been on the team since eighth grade and been on varsity since my freshman year. This is my third district championship, and I'm just really glad we won it my senior year. There were doubts, because we were such a young team and we lost so many seniors in the past two years, but we really pulled it together, we played hard in practice and we did what we needed to do."
Coming off an 8-12 season in 2008, Mercer was just 4-12 on Sept. 22, but the Titans will take a seven-match winning streak into next week's 12th Region Tournament at Boyle County. Both Mercer (11-12) and Garrard (10-20-4) will advance to the regional, which is expected to begin Monday.
"We work hard, and hopefully it'll take us somewhere," Taylor Flach said.
Flach helped Mercer distance itself in Thursday's match with a strong serving run to start the second game in the best-of-three match. She served every point as Mercer took an 11-0 lead, and five of those points were scored on Garrard errors.
"They couldn't pass our serves," she said. "I was putting the serves where they weren't there. My mom always tells me where to serve to, and I put them where they needed to be, and when they did get it back over we did what we needed to do."
Garrard rallied to within four points after Mercer went up 15-1, as Faith Browning had three of her five kills during a 9-0 run. But the Titans slammed the door slammed the door with back-to-back kills by Lindsay Jones and closed out the match on an 8-1 run.
"Their intensity was about the same (as ours) the first game, but then our intensity went down a little bit," Garrard coach Dennis Custard said. "But we fought hard to come back and got several points, and I'm proud of them for that."
Lynn Flach said she was just as pleased with the way her players fought off Garrard's rally.
"We weren't passing the ball, we didn't stay focused to pass the ball and put it away, and part of that is just being young and learning how to get the ball up in the air and set it and put it away," the Mercer coach said. "But I was happy to see that ... once we finally got the ball back we just took right back off again."
Foley had a match-high seven kills, including three during a 13-3 run in the first game, while Jones finished with four.
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Prosperitie Andrew, Danville; Raven Coulter, Mercer County; Taylor Flach, Mercer County; Michelle Foley, Mercer County; Amanda Leopold, Garrard County; Beth Miller, Burgin; Brooke Ransdell, Burgin; Candice Taylor, Danville.