09/03/04 — Bulldogs knock off Princeton

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Bulldogs knock off Princeton

By David Williams
Published in Sports on September 3, 2004 1:59 PM

SEVEN SPRINGS -- The set and the serve are the rudimentary elements of volleyball. Master those two skills, and any volleyball team becomes competitive.

And in the case of two rebuilding programs, such as Carolina 1-A Conference rivals Princeton and Spring Creek, the team that develops those skills faster takes a decided advantage.

The Bulldogs used their power on the serve and their accuracy in getting quality sets in a three-game sweep of the Gators Thursday in the Spring Creek gym. Princeton won the match 25-13, 25-8, 25-18 to move to 2-0 in the conference and 4-4 overall. Spring Creek fell to 1-1 in league play, with a 2-3 overall worksheet.

"I could see continued improvement," said Princeton coach Trudy Rast, whose team took Charles B. Aycock to five games before losing earlier in the week. "We really worked well together as a team. I was really, really happy with the way we played."

"We're still trying to put power into our hits," said Spring Creek coach Deanna Morris. When we set it up to hit it to them, it need to be stronger because they were able to get to it and set it up to get it back to us.

A strong service run by Brittany Rose put game one in Princeton's column. Rose served up a pair of aces in a string of service points that took Princeton from a close 11-7 lead to a 15-8 advantage.

Princeton put the game away as Spring Creek could not string together any scoring runs, struggling with sets as the Bulldogs took the 25-13 win. Nicole Hargis had a pair of kills in the opening game, while five other Princeton players notched kills.

"Nicole Hargis has been really strong for us the past three games," said Rast. "Everybody's really covering and getting to the ball."

Princeton stretched a 3-0 lead early in the second game and ballooned it out to 12-4 as Hargis and Jenny Wallace were strong at the net and Melissa Worley. serving keyed a four-point run. Spring Creek strugled to get in sync as Princeton ran off to the easy 25-8 win. Hargis had a kill, and ace and a tip in the game, while Courtney Oxendine recorded a tip and was stronger on the floor for the Gators.

The third game saw Spring Creek take its only lead of the match as Lorenda Brodgen and Melissa Campion got on a hot serving streak and paced the hosts out to a 5-3 lead early on. Princeton regrouped as Hargis got a pair of aces on a service scoring run and turned a 5-5 tie into an 11-5 lead.

Stephanie Daughtry then came to the service line and dished up a pair of aces back-to-back as Princeton took command with four quick points and a 16-7 lead.

Rose and Sam Harlan served strong through to the end as the Bulldogs closed out Spring Creek 25-18. The Gators made a late run in the game as Brogden spurred a six-point run with a pair of aces.

Daughtry and Rose both had five aces each and sophomore Sarah Gibbs notched six kills for the match to pace Princeton, while Hargis had a three-kill, three-tip, two-ace night. Spring Creek was paced by Tomeka Pride, with two kills and a block at the net.

Morris said she is pleased with her young team's steady improvement.

"I think we're playing really well and we're getting better about getting morale back up not getting down when things go bad," she said. "I'm seeing improvement as far as working together."

Princeton will host an improving North Duplin squad on Tuesday, while Spring Creek will entertain Rosewood.