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Bates, Tigresses hold serve vs. Sherrard

Everyone was happy, happy, happy after the Tigresses rallied to defeat Sherrard in the first set Tuesday.
Everyone was happy, happy, happy after the Tigresses rallied to defeat Sherrard in the first set Tuesday.

PRINCETON — Andy Puck kept pointing his index finger and telling his Princeton volleyball team to take things one point at a time when they found themselves trailing Sherrard 24-19 in the first of Monday’s key Three Rivers Conference matchup at Prouty Gym.

Mollie Bates and her teammates did just that. Bates served a string of six straight points to tie the game at 24. The Princeton Tigresses held off two more game points and overcame Sherrard 28-26. The second set came a little easier with the Princeton scoring the final three points for a 25-18 winner.

“This was a big win,” PHS coach Andy Puck said. “I knew the kids could do this, but the kids showed they could persevere and trust one another, which is huge. This is the time of year where you have to do that.”

The win vaulted the Tigresses (20-6, 7-1) a half game ahead of Sherrard in the TRAC South standings. They will meet again Oct. 22 at Sherrard.

Senior setter Michelle Kelly’s tip gave PHS a sideout at 24-19 and sent Bates to the service line. She served up an ace. Sophomore Hailey Schultz scored with a block and knocked down a kill to make it 24-23. A hitting error by Sherrard tied the set at 24.

Puck said Bates, who had a team-high nine points, showed nerves of steel.

“She’s got some confidence and gave her team chances to win. What a performance,” he said.

Sherrard went ahead 25-24, but a push by Kelly tied it back up at 25. Sherrard took its eighth set point at 26-25, but the Tigresses persevered once more. Ashley Farraher’s kill tied things at 26, Becca Hult made a block to make it 27-26 and a double-hit violation by Sherrard left the Tigresses jumping for joy.

“We just trusted one another,” Farraher said.

Puck said the difference was the Tigresses finally were able to run their offense.

Farraher gave the Tigresses an 18-14 lead in the second set with an ace and Schultz made it 19-15 with a kill off a Sherrard block. The sophomore Schultz delivered with a kill-block combo to give PHS a 21-17 edge and the Tigresses finished off the set 25-18 with a 6-1 run.

Schultz led PHS with eight kills and was a difference maker, Puck said

“She’s coming into her own and is fun to watch,” Puck said.

Hult tallied six kills and five blocks with Alicia Poss adding five kills and Farraher four. Kelly had 22 assists, 12 digs and eight points.

• Notes: PHS will host Kewanee for Senior Night Thursday. .... The PHS sophomores won a close match 27-25, 25-23 while the freshmen went the distance for a 19-25, 30-28, 15-10 win.

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