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Tigresses play with plenty of pep

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Emmalee Sears gave props to the PHS pep band who played during Thursday’s home volleyball match at Prouty Gymnasium against St. Bede. She said the Tigresses sure played with some much-needed pep, defeating the Lady Bruins 25-17, 25-17 in NCIC play.

“We really came together tonight. I think we really needed this,” Sears said. “We all worked really hard and played as a team.This win had a lot of determination and an effort on everybody’s part, and I think we all played with a lot of heart tonight.

“We’ve been at a lull, on a roller-coaster. A win at home I think was a good way to end the week, and I think it will boost our confidence.”

Sears said she loved the school spirit displayed from the band and appreciated the fans’ support also.

The Lady Bruins tied the second set at 13 on an ace from libero Morgan King. But from there on, it was the Lady Bruins tumbling on the roller-coaster ride.

The Tigresses (19-7, 1-1) sided out, and Sears ripped off a six-point string for a 19-14 lead. Lydia Stariha used a deep push for the Bruin sideout at 22-15. A service error and a hitting error by PHS brought St. Bede within 24-17, but the Lady Bruins hit long for match point at 25-17.

SBA coach Dawn Williams said the Lady Bruins (7-15, 0-2) are getting closer but not quite there, noting serve and receive issues plagued them in both sets.

“I was pleased we stayed with them for about nine points, 13 points. We’re still having rotation problems on two serve receives and everything behind it,” she said. “So we’ve still got to figure out how to cover those two and keep rearranging and keep going. We played 92 percent of the time; we’ve got to get that other eight percent.

“I told the girls today we’ve got one month. A month from today is regional finals. If you want to be in regional finals, we’ve got to figure it out.”

PHS coach Andy Puck, whose team held leads of 17-11, 20-12, 24-15 in the first set, said the Tigresses had things figured out well, especially on the defensive side which they’ve been focusing on in practice.

“We’ve really, really been stressing that to get better and working on things that are going to help us throughout the rest of the season,” he said. “Our back row tonight was much, much improved over the last couple weeks even. They’re starting to make the moves that I have not seen them make this year. The last couple practices have been defense and serve receive, and that really showed tonight.”

He said when both sets got close, they began to trust each other and pulled together.

“I think that they knew that we were, I hate to say it, but probably the better team, just had to execute that and sooner or later we would pull away. But it takes a lot of confidence in your teammates to do that, too. The front row trusting that the back row has their back, and the back row trusting front row has their front.”

Knowing that conference wins are at a premium now in the NCIC with just three schools (PHS, St. Bede and IVC), Sears said the match was an important one for the Tigresses.

“It was fun, and the competitive nature between the two schools and then you only have only two (other) teams n conference, it means that much more,” said Sears, who led PHS with six kills and added five points. “Every conference game we get excited about and want to win it that much more than any other game. Last year of conference, we want to take it home or at least tie for first.”

Mollie Bates led the Tigresses with eight points, while Katherine Pranka added seven points, two aces and five kills. Ashley Farraher had five kills and Michelle Kelly (11 assists) and McCaela May (7) handled the setting.

Morgan King led the Lady Bruins with nine points, two aces and seven digs. Olivia Mueller had three kills, and Morgan Bosnich chipped in six points and seven assists.

Notes: Princeton won the sophomore match 26-24, 25-16. St. Bede escaped with a narrow win on the freshmen level at 25-19, 25-27, 28-16 … PHS will now meet IVC on Monday for Senior Night, a match moved from Thursday due to IVC’s Homecoming festivities.

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