Screenshot 2023 09 11 At 2.39.18 Pm
Long Beach Poly Volleyball

Long Beach Poly Libero Taylor Mercado Commits to Georgetown

The562’s coverage of high school volleyball in 2023 is brought to you by the MLP’s Bay Area Breakers

Long Beach Poly senior libero Taylor Mercado recently committed to continue her career at the NCAA level at Georgetown, ending the recruiting process.

Mercado has been a four-year varsity standout for the Jackrabbits as an athletic libero who can cover a big chunk of the floor thanks to her speed.

“I went on a visit and it just had that feeling of walking onto the campus, just feeling like I had to be there,” said Mercado. “I went to a camp with the new coaches over the summer and I really got along with all the girls, it felt like a perfect fit.”

In addition to playing at Poly, Mercado has also been a longtime standout with the Long Beach Mizuno club program, where a number of teammates had committed to college programs.

“It was definitely stressful at times because a lot of the girls around me were committing,” said mercado. “But I was taking my time because I was looking at the academics too and I didn’t want to just commit somewhere just to do it.”

Mercado’s two other top options were Columbia and Rice, also high-level academic schools. She said she’s planning on joining Georgetown’s business school. First-year Poly coach Gerald Aquiningoc had a chance to see Mercado as a rival coach the last few years at Wilson, and as her coach this year at Poly.

“She’s a great libero because of her relentlessness to defend the floor,” he said. “She makes good reads which allows her to be in the right place, and she also instills confidence in her teammates.”

Aquiningoc said that while Mercado’s physical tools are obvious, her mental and emotional acuity have been just as valuable in helping to turn around a Poly program that had been slipping away from the top of the Moore League.

“She’s a great communicator and has great leadership qualities,” he said. 

Mercado said it’s been gratifying to have success this year–Poly is off to an 8-2 start and is No. 3 in the CIF-SS Division 3 rankings this week. They’re also undefeated in Moore League play so far and tied with Wilson for first, with a home match against the league favorite Bruins on Thursday at 5pm. 

“We’ve had some drama the last few years, and we’d say things and not go through with it,” she said. “This year has been amazing. The new girls are so on top of everything, we all just want to compete. Everything’s been a lot better.”

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Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.