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Eagles finish PVL slate undefeated
In the final nine matches of the Pioneer-Valley League season no team won a game against the Princeton High varsity volleyball team.
The Eagles (21-8, 10-0 PVL) swept Paradise Adventist Academy (18-9-3, 7-3 PVL) in the final match of the regular season Thursday in Princeton, capping off an undefeated run through the league schedule. The only team to win a game against the Eagles in PVL play was Redding Adventist, who pushed Princeton to five games in the first league match back on Oct. 1.
"The kids just work really hard and as a coach that's what you ask for. We're not the biggest team, we're not the fastest team, but they work together, they enjoy each other and they have fun what they're doing — so it makes a great experience," Princeton coach Matt Harvey said.
Princeton made quick work of Paradise Adventist 25-15, 25-8, 25-19 on the Eagles' senior night. Gaby Rodriguez, Ashley McMartin and Natalia Carreon are the only seniors on a young but talented roster.
The Cougars took a 6-5 lead early in the first game before junior outside hitter Maryssa Martin slammed home back-to-back kills and Rodriguez followed up with two aces for a 9-6 lead. The Eagles never looked back and led by as much as 22-11 after a block by Rodriguez.
In Game 2, the Eagles went on a 10-2 run early on with the help of four consecutive aces by Rodriguez and later went on an 11-point run to end the game.
McMartin had two kills early in Game 3 as Princeton built a 12-8 lead before the reserves entered the court. Paradise Adventist rallied back and took a 17-16 lead but the Eagles came back to win.
Martin led Princeton with seven kills and added five aces, and McMartin made six kills. Rodriguez served six aces and made four kills and four blocks. Amanda Hansen had three aces and two kills, and Carreon added two aces.
After finishing second in league last season, Rodriguez was ecstatic about winning the title in her senior year.
"It was great, it was just so much fun beating everybody, and being first in league just made my year. I'm just excited for what's going to come in playoffs," she said.
Coming into the season, the Eagles were confident they could compete with every team in the league but there was a lot of work to do, according to McMartin.
"At the beginning we had different rotations, then we finally got into the swing of things and it really just came together for us, and we played with rhythm throughout the year," McMartin said.
The Eagles are the No. 2 seed in the Division VI standings and have just two losses in divisional play, both in September; a close 2-1 loss to top-seed Mercy during the Los Molinos tournament, and a close 3-1 loss to No. 5 seed Maxwell.
Harvey hopes breezing through PVL play won't hurt the Eagles as the competition ramps up in the playoffs.
"I told the girls, now is where you need to step up because every team has made it this far, every team is ready to play. It'll be fun to see how we step up to a challenge," Harvey said.
The Eagles are seeded second in the Division VI playoffs and received a first-round bye. They await a Nov. 13 home game versus the first-round winner between No. 7 Fall River and No. 10 Liberty.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.