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Tigresses not ready for IVC

Andy Puck probably didn’t get much sleep Thursday, thinking about his Princeton Tigresses volleyball match against IVC earlier that evening.

The Tigresses went down in defeat to their former NCIC rivals 25-21, 25-22, and he said it wasn’t pretty.

“There wasn’t one kid on that court tonight that was ready to play, not one kid,” Puck said. “They’ve very good team, (17-1) now, but they gave us chances to win — a lot of chances to win, but we just gave them a lot more chances.

“That was not my team. I take full responsibility. We didn’t compete; they played harder than us; we weren’t disciplined at the net; we weren’t disciplined behind the service line. They didn’t listen to me. If you don’t listen to your coach, most of the time you’re not going to win.”

PHS (7-2) had its chances to right the ship in the second set, taking advantage when IVC setter Brooke Ratcliff went down with a hand injury. The Tigresses sided out to tie the game at 17, tacked on two more points — the second slammed down by senior Becca Hult as her mother, Patty, stood and cheered loudly from the Prouty Gym bleachers.

IVC scored four straight to make it 21-19, but PHS countered with a sideout and two points to regain a short-lived 22-21 lead. IVC finished off the match with the final four points with senior Amanda Bowen hammering match point at 25-22.

The first set was just as close as the second, but IVC was seemingly always in control, leading 13-10, 15-11, 21-15 and 23-17. A double block by Hult and Brianna Barajas and a cross shot by Hult brought the Tigresses within three, 23-20. But a foot fault on a serve and a block by IVC finished off the set 25-21.

Puck spoke briefly to his team, sharing his disappointment for their play. He wanted them to figure things out.

“I told them you can’t show up and expect teams to roll over for you,” he said. “I gave them that speech Saturday. We didn’t play hard. When you don’t play hard you think. There was a lot of thinking.”

Seniors Alicia Poss and Hult each had five kills for PHS with setter Michelle Kelly netting 15 assists and four points.

IVC coach Hillary Haen, who was a setter for the University of Illinois, was happy to be able to keep Princeton on its schedule now that the Tigresses have moved on to the Three Rivers Conference. IVC plays as an independent this year, looking to join the Corn Belt Conference in 2014-15.

“Last year, I think our game here was our best match. It was so competitive and back and forth. It really gave our girls an experience we really need,” Haen said. “This is our 10th match in two weeks, so it’s been a crazy stretch. I was a little nervous because I know Princeton has a really, really solid team, so with it being such a long stretch, I didn’t know if they were going to come out and be ready to fight for this game, and they came out really well.”

• Tiger tales: Both of the underclass matches went to IVC, which won the sophomore tilt 25-12, 25-23 and 25-17, 26-24 at the freshmen level … The Tigresses will play in the Byron Power Classic Saturday.

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