Original Article Courtesy of NewTribune
PRINCETON — After a tough Three Rivers Conference East Division loss to St. Bede on Thursday, the Princeton volleyball team figured some things out at Saturday’s Rock Falls Invitational.
“We had a really good weekend,” said PHS coach Andy Puck, whose team placed third at Rock Falls. “We played good volleyball on Saturday.
“(We figured out) rotations and finding hitters when we’re blocking. If you look out on the court, we have two freshmen out there. We have three juniors at a couple times who don’t have any varsity experience, but we also have a few seniors we definitely look to. Sometimes, you just need reps. We need to get confidence in some of those younger kids and for the older kids to trust the younger kids. It’s a process.”
The Tigresses’ progress from Saturday was on display Tuesday as they cruised to a 25-10, 25-15 victory over Hall in a conference game at Prouty Gym.
“It’s our first home win,” Puck said. “We just needed to play more. Saturday we figured out a lot. We’re a completely different team than we were a week ago. It’s good to see.”
The Tigresses fell behind 5-1 in the first before a service error gave PHS the ball.
Kenzie Coleman stepped behind the line for Princeton and rattled off eight consecutive points to help the Tigresses take control.
“It provided a lot of energy,” Coleman said about her service run. “When we’re down, we try to keep our energy up, but for any sport that’s really hard. Once you get a rush, you keep going. You’re cheering each other on, and it really does help.”
Coleman served strong all night as she finished with 16 points and served up eight aces.
“I was pretty happy with that,” Coleman said about her serving. “I wasn’t expecting that, but I was happy with how that went.
“I’ve been working on placement a lot. I feel like that’s helping. The float of the ball is what I’m trying to work with too.”
Coleman also went on a seven-point service run in the second set to expand Princeton’s lead to 19-9.
“She’s our best server,” Puck said. “That’s the reason why she’s either our first server or second server. She picks her spots. She serves deep. She serves short. She takes their best hitters out of system. That’s what she’s supposed to do and she does it very well.”
Princeton finished with 11 aces.
“Our serve-receive was our bad thing,” Hall coach Demi Salazar said. “Other than that, it wasn’t that bad. We just didn’t play well on serve-receive.
“That’s a new line. We flipped our libero and our other kid. Those two kids haven’t played together a lot. It was the first night they actually stood together. Sometimes stuff like that happens.”
The Tigresses (4-4, 1-1 TRC East) did more than serve well as they had a balanced offense as Kaylee Hammerich put down four kills, while Coleman, Olivia Vergamini, Abby Scaggs and Madison Richards each had three kills.
PHS was forced into a 5-1 offense with freshman setter Katie Bates as senior setter Kendra Cain had to miss the match with concussion-like symptoms.
Bates had 16 assists.
“That was an adjustment, but we did pretty good with it,” Coleman said. “I was very happy (with how we played). I thought we worked together very well. (Against St. Bede) we were kind of falling apart a little bit. We’ve been working a lot in practice. We had a really good tournament on Saturday. We played a lot of good teams, which helps us competitive-wise. We were just ready. We showed up ready to play. We wanted to win.”
Gertie Savitch had four assists and three digs for the Lady Red Devils (2-10).
Notes: PHS won the sophomore match 25-13, 11-25, 25-15. … PHS won the freshman match 25-6, 25-21.
Kevin Chlum can be reached at 220-6939, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @NT_SportsEditor.