MENDOTA — Andy Puck said his Princeton Tigresses were not ready to play volleyball Tuesday night at Mendota. And it showed.
The Tigresses fell behind early on the way to a 25-15 defeat in the first set. And while they pulled together in the second set, it proved to be too little too late, falling 25-22.
The loss and effort left Puck shaking his head.
“We have to be tougher. We were just way too mentally beat. I take full responsibility for that,” he said. “This time of year, my teams are a lot tougher than this, and for some reason, I’m just not getting across to these kids. Probably need to chew on each other a little bit because they’re falling on deaf ears from me.”
The first set was not pretty as Mendota jumped to leads of 9-5, 15-8 and 18-11 before scoring the final five points to nail down a 25-15 decision.
“Way too many errors, way too many,” Puck said.
The Tigresses (19-9) answered the bell in the second set for leads of 12-5, 13-8 and 14-10. Mendota, however, would not go away. Amy Devitt served two straight aces and after a PHS sideout, Alex Tavlas and Ashlyn Kennedy hit for kills to tie the set at 15.
Hits by Becca Hult and Emmalee Sears helped keep the Tigresses on top at 19-17, and a block by Hult maintained a 21-19 edge. Tavias and Kennedy struck again for a 23-21 Spiker lead, Kennedy tipped to make it 24-22 before MHS delivered the match point at 25-22.
“We’re 5-foot-9 and playing teams a lot taller than us. We have to give ourselves opportunities to win, every single opportunity to win. We did that the second set, there ... still too many errors,” Puck said. “We have to get better.”
Hult finished with five kills with Katherine Pranka and Alicia Poss adding three each. Michelle Kelly chipped in seven digs and 14 assists.
For Mendota (18-9-1), Rachel Barr hit for 11 kills, Devitt had five kills and three aces and Kennedy had four kills.
• Tiger tales: PHS lost junior libero Brooke Kamphuis at the end of the first set when she banged her head on the floor and showed concussion symptoms. Teammate Mollie Bates made a quick exchange of shirts between sets to assume the libero duties. ... Mendota also swept the underclass matches in two sets, winning at the sophomore (25-19, 25-18) and freshmen (26-24, 25-22) levels. ... PHS (No. 3 seed) and Mendota (No. 4) are both in the Sterling 2A regional. They could only meet in the finals.