Senior breaks school record with 23 kills against Danville
During Mercer County volleyball’s regular season home finale, history was made. Senior Jaclyn Devine broke a school record with 23 kills in one match against Danville on Tuesday, Oct. 8. Devine leads Mercer County with 256 kills and 46 aces this season.
Despite breaking the record, it wasn’t something Devine was keeping track of. “I had no idea I had 23. My coaches kept the stat sheet away from me because they didn’t want me to know and I never keep track in my head so I had no idea until after the game,” said Devine. “Our assistant coach, Coach Taylor, stood up and gave me a big hug, and at the time I didn’t even know I had broken anything.”
Devine is known by her coaches and teammates as a humble, silent leader who leads by example.
“I think it’s very cool to be in a history book somewhere. I’ve just spent so much time on volleyball, it’s good to see my name somewhere,” she said. “After a huge kill, it’s a feeling I can’t describe. It’s like you just feel everything coming together for that moment.”
Mercer County Head Coach Lynn Flach started coaching the Titans in 2016, Devine’s freshman year, and knew something special was brewing ever since.
“I am very proud of all the hard work and dedication that Jac (Devine) has put in to set the record for kills in one game. She puts in a lot of time in the offseason playing on a national level club team out of Lexington. She is very coachable and always working to get better,” said Flach. “It has been fun to watch her evolve from her freshman year to this year, her senior year.”
Flach said the biggest change for Devine in her career has been consistency and control.
“During her freshman year, she had power, but no control. Everything went into the net or out of bounds,” said Flach. “Over her four years, that has changed and she is a powerhouse with a lot of control and strategic play. She knows when to swing hard, roll hit, tip and adjust her swing when she’s set off the net. She could easily win most improved player and most valuable player all at the same time.”
With her record breaking performance, Devine’s 256 kills with two games remaining rank her 11th in the state in that category.
“She is truly a special player to me on and off the floor,” said Flach. “I am very blessed to have had the opportunity to coach Jac and have her in my life.”
Devine said her teammates have been nothing but supportive during all the highs and lows in her time as a Titan.
“They have just been beyond supportive, especially one of by buddies Jai (Piazza). If I have a kill and I didn’t think it was good, she’ll run up to me and high five me from wherever she is,” said Devine. “All of my teammates have been that way throughout my career. They always pick me up even if I have a bad game. It’s the same with my coaches. They always keep my spirits up and correct me so my next swing can be better.”
Despite the individual accolades, Devine’s focus has always been on the team. The Titans sit at a record of 15-5 with two games remaining, and Devine is poised to lead her team to where they want to be at the end of the season.
“Being a senior is hard. I want to see my team go to state. I mean, that’s what every athlete wants,” she said. “I know it’s going to take a lot of hard work and us working together as a team till the end. The best thing to do is just cheer my teammates on and keep winning. It’s crazy how one high five and a “you’re good” can carry you.”
Mercer County plays their next match on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at Lincoln County.