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Princeton’s Kelly girl

By definition, a setter’s job on the volleyball floor is to distribute the ball to your hitters no matter how you’ve got to get the job done.

Princeton coach Andy Puck takes it a step further and says the setter’s job is to make their hitters look good.

And he adds, PHS junior setter Michelle Kelly did her job well.

She was the area leader in assists for the best team in the area, but that was just one of her many strengths, Puck said.

“Michelle was our best defender on defense, our best passer, one of our best servers, and was our best setter. Her quickness and desire to get to every pass was relentless,” he said. “Since her freshman year she has always been a phenomenal talent, this season she blossomed into a captain, leader and a coach on the floor.”

Well enough to earn 2012 BCR Player of the Year honors.

Kelly’s job was much easier with a solid back row to get her a pass and a lot weapons to choose when it came to hitting with the equally talented cast of seniors Katherine Pranka and Emmalee Sears and juniors Becca Hult, Alicia Poss and Ashley Farraher.

Describing the setter’s position in her words, Kelly said, “I kind of set up the offense, run the offense, if I don’t give a good set we can’t really do that well, but they really did a nice job making me look good. I know even if my set isn’t perfect, I know they can work with it and they always did a really nice job.”

Kelly finished the season with 665 assists (8.4 per set), nearly 250 more than the next setter around. The NCIC First-Team All-Conference pick also led the Tigresses with 166 points, added 29 aces and provided 194 digs on defense.

A move to Class 3A this year thanks to a new IHSA reclassification derailed the Tigresses’ postseason ride a little earlier than they’ve become used to, falling to Elite Eight finalist Rock Falls in the regional finals. The Tigresses can only wonder how far they could have gone in 2A.

“It was a little harder, so it was kind of disappointing, but I still think we did pretty well since the teams were a lot better,” Kelly said,

The PHS setter said the Tigresses played hard that match against Rock Falls, but thought “we could have done some things better.”

With all but four of this year’s team returning, joined by a successful sophomore squad, Kelly can’t help but look ahead a little.

“I think we’ll do really well next year,” she said.

And Michelle Kelly will be there once again leading the way.

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