MENDOTA — The Princeton Tigress volleyball squad traveled northeast to take on longtime rival Mendota on Monday night and cruised to a two-set victory, 25-16, 25-15.
The Spikers jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the first game, but that was their largest and one of their few leads of the evening. The Tigresses scored seven of the next eight points, forcing Mendota coach John Holzman to call a timeout to attempt to get his girls back on track.
But despite avoiding the Princeton blockers all evening (PHS only recorded three blocks) and winning many of the longest volleys, the Spikers could not sustain any momentum whatsoever. Whenever it looked like they were ready to mount a challenge, the Tigresses answered with their own rally.
“Momentum is big for us,” PHS coach Andy Puck said. “Momentum has usually gone against us the last couple weeks. We’re slowly starting to make the shift. Confidence is a big issue. We’re starting to trust one another and more importantly starting to trust ourselves.”
The second game see-sawed up to 10 points, with Mendota holding leads of 3-2, 6-5 and 10-8. But then Princeton turned it on using well-placed and crisp serves, a high kill rate and numerous digs to score 17 of the final 22 points and cruise to the 10-point victory.
Princeton was so dominant on the evening that Puck did not have to use a single timeout.
“We executed the things we worked on in practice,” Puck said. “The kids played the way we expected them to. They listened to us and they executed. Mendota challenged us. They’re an athletic team. But we took advantage of their mistakes and they didn’t take advantage of many of our mistakes.”
Puck was particularly pleased with the team’s serving, which they have been working hard on in practice.
“We were able to execute serves and take out their big middle and their outsides out too. It’s fun when they execute what we work on,” he said.
Senior Lydia Smallwood (8 points) and junior Abby Scaggs (7) led the service game, each sustaining nice runs at key points in the match. Scaggs teamed up with senior Anna Murray and junior Kaylee Hammerich to pace the team with six kills each while senior Sara Grieff added five from the middle. Murray led the way with 11 digs.
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