10/22/09 — Princeton tops Rosewood for conference crown

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Princeton tops Rosewood for conference crown

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 22, 2009 1:46 PM

Princeton pulled it together at the right time.

After dropping the opening set against archrival Rosewood, the Dawgs found their rhythm, played their normal game and seized the Carolina 1-A Conference volleyball tournament championship Wednesday evening. Senior setter Erin Schultze dished out a match-high 26 assists in a 21-25, 25-17, 25-17, 25-13 triumph over the top-seeded Eagles.

Princeton (16-5 overall) earned the league's No. 1 seed and home contest for the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs, which begin Saturday. Rosewood (13-9) grabbed the No. 2 seed and will entertain a team from the Tri-County Conference.

Match times have not been announced.

Schultze distributed assists among five hitters in the 92-minute, four-set affair. Senior outside hitter Rebecca Harlan pounded out a team-leading 10 kills, while Nicole Melvin contributed seven kills. Hannah Wood, Maegan Myers and Traci Bridgers combined for five kills.

Libero Katlyn Peedin logged 38 digs.

"Great, great heart and hustle (by Erin)," said Princeton coach Trudi Rast. "She's done a great job all year. Her serving was in, she hustled to balls to set up (teammates) and made a huge difference today."

The Dawgs grabbed their second tournament title since 2005.

Rosewood secured the opening set behind strong net play from middle hitter Taylor Johnson. The senior delivered nine kills and two blocks, and concluded the match with 19 kills and five blocks.

The Eagles limited their unforced errors and matched the Dawgs' scrappy effort defensively.

"I felt like the first set we played as a team," said Rosewood coach Jennifer Cochran. "The second, third and fourth sets we played as six individuals. Her team plays together all the time. The first set wasn't a piece of cake for us to win and we had a couple of balls to roll our way.

"We fought hard."

Princeton fought harder.

The Dawgs served three aces and Wood collected two kills off Schultze assists in an early 7-2, second-set run. The Eagles climbed within 10-8 on Johnson's solo block and Rachael Kornegay's lone kill of the match, but could get no closer.

Schultze served three consecutive aces in a 9-3, third-set surge. Myers, Wood and Harlan contributed kills as Princeton built an eight-point lead.

Meagan Tyndall's cross-court kill to the deep right corner closed the gap to 19-16. The Dawgs answered with a 6-1 run and grabbed a 2-1 advantage in the best-of-five match.

Unforced errors plagued Rosewood in the fourth set and Princeton raced ahead 8-2. Tyndall's second kill of the match and Johnson's ace trimmed the deficit to 10-5.

The Dawgs closed out the set and match with a seven-point run.

"We had to step it up ... played with hearts, heads and focus," said Rast. "That first game we played good, but we were getting caught watching things. The rest of the games we started moving better and covering the court better.

"It was an overall effort ... everyone contributes. They've worked so hard every day in practice and I'm happy they were able to pull it off. They deserved it."