Late-game rallies are becoming as common for the Princeton Tigresses this fall as leaves falling off trees and farmers harvesting their crops.
On Tuesday, the Tigresses trailed host St. Bede 24-18 in the first set before rallying for a 26-24 win. After the Lady Bruins took the second set 25-17 and held an 18-14 lead in the third, the Tigresses rallied once again for a 26-19 match clincher.
PHS coach Andy Puck didn’t think the Tigresses should have even been in that position to begin with.
“Bad coaching, blame me. I’m not getting through to them. We get too complacent,” he said. “Not to take anything away from St. Bede, but we need to take every point like it’s our last, and we’re not doing that.
“We’re frustrated and angry and we’re 22-6 and 9-1 in conference. I have expectations, and the kids have expectations. We don’t know how to push through them to get to those expectations.”
The Lady Bruins (13-13, 5-4) were zipping right along in the first set, leading as much as 19-8. They still led 23-15 on a push by senior setter Morgan Bosnich and at 24-18 on a kill by Hanna Bima.
After a sideout on a net serve by the Lady Bruins, Rachel Frank and the Tigresses took off. Frank served out the final seven points, capped by a push by Michelle Kelly, a kill and a tip by Becca Hult and last spike by Ashley Farraher.
“I don’t know if I have energy to do this every night. It’s been that way the last few nights,” Puck said of his team’s late-game heroics.
“I told the girls it’s Princeton, and no lead is ever safe,” St. Bede coach Dawn Williams said. “Princeton’s a quality team and (an) Andy Puck (team) is never going to die. They come back. I know they did it somebody last week.
“I’m not pleased to lose those when we’re up like that. You got to learn to close.”
St. Bede bounced back strong in the second set, using a 10-point string by Samantha Whalen, capped by two aces to take a 19-9 lead. PHS used an 8-4 run to close within 23-17, but Olivia Mueller finished off the 25-17 St. Bede win with a kill.
The Lady Bruins carried that momentum into the third set taking a 12-7 lead. A quick give and go between Bima and Bosnich gave St. Bede a 16-14 lead. Katie Joerger served an ace and scored another point on a PHS hitting error to make it 18-14.
Mollie Bates decided enough was enough, serving up a nine-point string, including an ace, to put the Tigresses on top 24-18. Her string ended with a net serve, but a kill by Hult wrapped up the 25-19 win.
The Tigresses had a well-rounded attack up front with Hailey Schultz (11 kills), Hult (10 kills), Farraher (8 kills) and Alicia Poss (7 kills). Brianna Barajas came off the bench to compliment Kelly (28 assists) with 13 assists. Bates led the back row with 16 digs.
For St. Bede, Whalen served up 18 points with four aces to go along with 25 digs. Bosnich had 27 assists, setting up Claire Dudek (10 kills), Mueller (9 kills) and Bima (6 kills).
• Notes: Pink Night was a huge success at the Academy with both teams and parents wearing pink in support of breast cancer awareness. Two mothers of Lady Bruins were honored as breast cancer survivors — Sharon (Katie) Joerger and Melissa (Morgan) Bosnich as well as Samantha Whalen’s grandmother. ... St. Bede won the sophomore match 25-18, 25-21. PHS took the freshman match 25-12, 22-25, 15-9.
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