PRINCETON — The Princeton Tigresses are going to have growing pains this season, playing six sophomores on a regular basis. But as long as they grow together, coach Andy Puck is OK with it.
Such was the case Tuesday night at Prouty Gym, where the Tigresses dropped the first set to rival Hall 24-26. PHS (1-1, 1-0) pulled together to take the next two 25-22, 25-15 to capture their Three Rivers Conference opener.
“We’re young. I’m going to say that a lot this year," Puck said. "There’s sometimes five sophomores out there on the court. So, we’re going to give up points in bunches and we’re going to score points in bunches. We’ve just go to stay up.
“I keep telling this group, we’re going to go through ups and downs. Got to make sure we’re fighting together.”
The Lady Devils (1-5) made a push to win the match in two sets, rallying for five straight points to tie Game 2 at 17.
Hall forced another tie at 21, only to have the Tigresses use a 4-1 run to finish off a 25-22 victory.
Hall also played to a tie in the third set at 9-9. The Tigresses took care of business, outscoring Hall 16-6 down the stretch to close out the set 25-15.
“After we lost that first set we knew we had to bring our energy back and it helped us,” sophomore setter Katie Bates said.
Hall coach Demi Salazar was pleased with his Lady Devils’ play throughout the match, not just the first set win.
“I have no idea how many kills people got, but seemed like we were putting the ball down when we had to and Maddie (Hultz) was doing a great job popping the ball up," Salazar said.
Senior Kenzie Coleman led the Tigresses with 11 kills while contributing seven points, three aces and six digs.
Sophomores Madison Richards (9) and Maya Gartin (7) combined for 16 kills while classmate Abby Peterson chipped in a team-high 18 digs with seven points.
Hall led throughout the first set, 17-12, after a dig by Hannah Parente and 19-16 on a kill by Zoe Morris.
PHS got a pair of Coleman kills to go up 23-21. Hall went up 24-23 and after being whistled in the net, got a hideout and a kill by Meghan Bernardoni for game point, one of the Hall senior’s team-high 12.
“We should win that first set. Middle of the season, I’m believing that we will,” Puck said. “But you got to give Hall credit. They passed really well, served really well. They did what they had to do to compete."
Hall also got six kills from Morris and five each from Gia Pozzi and Lilliana Orlandi. Hultz, the senior libero, had 13 digs while Maddie Hannon added two aces.