10/24/09 — Princeton wins first round volleyball match

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Princeton wins first round volleyball match

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on October 24, 2009 11:53 PM

PRINCETON -- First round playoff games are always full of unknowns.

For Princeton head coach Trudi Rast and the Bulldogs the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association playoffs was the perfect chance to make a statement and to validate their share of the Carolina 1-A Conference championship.

The Southside Seahawks certainly got the message.

Princeton claimed a 25-16, 25-16, 25-23 victory and advanced to play on Tuesday night in the second round of the bracket.

"I thought that we came out and played loose in the first two sets," said Rast. "We started to gte a little upset with some of our mistakes in the third set, but the girls cleared their minds in time to pull it out."

The Dawgs jumped out to a 6-0 advantage in the final set before the Seahawks answered the bell and rallied for four consecutive points on the strength of two kills by Atyanna Starkie. The teams battled back-and-forth until Southside's Renikia Hodges delivered three consecutive kills to give the Hawks a 20-19 advantage.

After two unforced errors by each team, Traci Bridgers stepped to the serving line and reeled off four consecutive points to seal the victory for the Dawgs.

"We really didn't know what to expect from Southside today," Rast said. "We didn't play each other in the regular season and the coaches I talked to this week really didn't have a lot to say so we were really in the dark."

Nicole Melvin led the Princeton attack with seven kills. Rebecca Harlan tallied six kills and one block. Meagan Myers recorded three aces and one kill.

Princeton (17-5 overall) advances to take on Lakewood on Tuesday night. The game time is yet to be determined.