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Eagles thump visiting RedHawks
Expectations are high for the Princeton High volleyball team after a roster dotted with sophomores made it to the semifinals of the Division VI playoffs last season before losing to a senior-laden Champion Christian squad.
Now a veteran team of upperclassmen, the Eagles continued their fast start to the season with a 25-8, 25-19, 26-24 sweep of visiting Colusa on Thursday.
"It's a fun one. All the kids know each other so it's so nice to go out there and play them and have a good time. It was a good win," Princeton coach Matt Harvey said.
Princeton improved to 2-0 with both victories coming against Colusa County opponents. The Eagles swept Williams to open the season on Aug. 23.
The RedHawks looked confused and out of position for the entire first game as the Eagles served up eight aces and 10 kills.
When Colusa managed to get a good shot in, the Princeton defense seemed to always be there with Marisela Valencia waiting to dig the ball out and for Amanda Hansen to set up a kill from Ashley McMartin, Gaby Rodriguez or Maryssa Martin.
"We work really hard on positioning, knowing where the ball is going, looking at tendencies because when you put yourself in a good spot it makes life easy," Harvey said.
Colusa never led in the second game but stayed within two points for much of it before fading late. Three consecutive aces by RedHawks junior Yasmin Moreno pulled her team within one point of tying at 16-15, but a kill by Rodriguez, an ace by Miranda Perez and a rotation error by Colusa halted the rally.
"Tonight we passed really well and it just keeps pressure on them. When you put pressure on the other team they're going to make mistakes and I think that's what happened," Harvey said. "Colusa's probably better than that but they made some mistakes and we took advantage."
Princeton led by as much as seven points late in the third game before Mattie Myers made it 23-17 with a kill to give the serve back to Moreno. Moreno didn't disappoint, scoring back-to-back aces before the Eagles were called for a net violation and then she followed with another ace. Myers notched a kill to draw the RedHawks within one and Teale Stacey tied it with a kill.
Moreno missed with a serve but Stacey tied the game 24-24 with a kill, but a ball into the net and a kill by Rodriguez gave the Eagles the final two points and the three-game sweep.
"We were completely out of sync, we didn't actually wake up until Game 3," said Colusa coach JayAnne Saso.
Moreno led all players with eight aces, Stacey had a team-high six kills, Myers added five kills, and Emily Mobley made four kills and two blocks.
Martin had a strong all-around game with seven kills, six aces and one block for Princeton. Hansen served six aces, made two kills and made very few mistakes setting the ball. McMartin made five kills and one ace.
Rodriguez led all players with eight kills and contributed three aces and a block for Princeton. Despite the Eagles strong performance against a much larger school, Rodriguez saw things the team needs to work on. She feels the team lacks height so communication and knowing where to be on the court are two things the team need to improve to ensure another deep playoff run.
"I'm expecting my team to take it to the championship, we got really close last year and I'm just hoping we get it this year," she said.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 824-1036 or firstname.lastname@example.org.