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Tigresses fight back at Kewanee

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(BCR photo/Kevin Hieronymus)
Princeton senior libero Mollie Bates looked all enemy shots in the eye Tuesday, at Kewanee. The first-place Tigresses won 25-12, 27-25 in Three Rivers South play.

KEWANEE — While the Princeton Tigresses breezed to a 25-12 first set victory Tuesday at Kewanee, they made the second rather interesting.

They trailed throughout the second set, down by as much as five points on three occasions. They held two match points before finally pulling through on senior Alicia Poss’ final kill at 27-25.

PHS coach Andy Puck said it was just a slow start, but was pleased the Tigresses had the resilience to fight back.

“We dominated the first set. The second set I told them the first three points were important. We gave them five missed serves out of their first 10 points and seven out of the first 14. You give a team confidence anybody can be tough,” Puck said.

“I was proud how resilient they were. It could have got ugly really fast. But I had five seniors on the court, too. I expect them to fight, and I expect them to prevail, and they did.”

Junior Sierra Storm gave the Tigresses a spark late in the second set. She hit for the hideout at 21-19, and two serves later tied the game at 21 with another shot off a Kewanee block.

“She came in and did well. Just a little spark,” Puck said. “I know her abilities. She knows her abilities, and she did everything I asked her. I’ve got four or five kids on the bench I’m very confident in, and they are, too. These kids will all contribute a ton next year. We’re very senior dominated right now.”

Becca Hult (7 kills, 2 blocks) put PHS at match point with a blast to the back corner, and her partner in crime, Ashley Farraher (9 kills), hit off another block to make it 25-24. The Lady Boilermakers tied things up a second time, before Farraher and Poss (5 kills) delivered the final blows with assists from setter Michelle Kelly.

The Tigresses scored five straight to open up an 18-9 win in the first set. Poss tipped for the sideout at 21-12. Mollie Bates took care of the rest from the service line, including an ace, on the way to a 25-12 decision.

Tiger tales: The PHS sophomores tasted success for the first time, relying to take the second set 26-24 after cruising in the first 25-8. Princeton made a successful trip to Fulton Monday, defeating the Steamers 25-22, 25-19. Farraher led the Tigresses with 12 kills and eight digs. Rachel Frank had seven points and Kelly 27 assists. PHS is in first place in the TRAC South. On winning his 300th victory Saturday at the Byron Power Classic, Puck said he’s been surrounded by good people, including his players, parents, assistants and junior high coaches. He called it a big honor, always striving to win each night.

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