09/29/10 — Rosewood tops archrival PHS in four sets

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Rosewood tops archrival PHS in four sets

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on September 29, 2010 1:47 PM

PRINCETON -- In big matches inside hostile environments against a bitter rival, freshmen aren't supposed to deliver performances like this.

Apparently, what Ellen Morgan doesn't know won't hurt her.

In the biggest match of her varsity volleyball career Morgan played like a seasoned veteran. A middle hitter, Morgan finished with 16 kills and nine blocks as Rosewood defeated Carolina 1-A Conference foe Princeton 25-19, 8-25, 25-18, 26-24 on Tuesday evening.

Morgan was aggressive from the opening point and her attacking style appeared to be contagious for her teammates. She tallied two kills and a service ace as the Eagles claimed an 11-6 lead in set one. Morgan tacked on two more kills and a block to increase the margin to 19-13.

The Bulldogs pulled to within 23-19 on Linda Smith's ace and Jenna Aycock's kill. A Princeton unforced error and Laura Vinson's kill finished off the first set for Rosewood.

"Ellen got her blocking going today," said Eagles head coach Jennifer Cochran. "She hasn't blocked a lot. She was seeing the block. Ellen and Anna Ingram are both freshmen, and they're both learning."

The Bulldogs bounced back with a dominating effort in set two. Princeton played the role of aggressor at the net and kills from Katlyn Peedin and Aycock were part of 10 consecutive points.

Traci Bridgers' ace put the Bulldogs in front 10-0. Aycock's kill, Nicole Melvin's block and a Rosewood error closed out the set.

"I felt like in that first set we really beat ourselves," said Princeton head coach Trudi Rast. "In the second set we came out strong. I do feel like we played well, but I do feel like we beat ourselves."

The Eagles regained control of the net in set three and three blocks from Morgan, two aces from Ingram and Vinson's kill gave Rosewood a 10-7 lead. Morgan's kill off Laura Vinson's assist stretched the advantage to 16-9. The Bulldogs climbed to within 20-17, but Morgan's kill and Kerri Jo Gurley's ace finished the set.

"Everybody played a part," said Cochran. "I have four seniors and not all of them start but they do a good job of pulling the bench into the match. We really gelled tonight as a team."

The Eagles raced out to a 6-0 lead in set four behind two kills and an ace from Megann Tyndall. Eight unforced errors by Rosewood helped Princeton trim the deficit to 10-9. The Bulldogs eventually took a 14-13 lead on Bridgers' kill.

Princeton fell behind 18-15 before rallying late. The Bulldogs came within two points of forcing a decisive fifth set after Melvin's kill gave Princeton a 23-22 lead.

Ingram's kill gave the Eagles a brief 24-23 edge before Stephanie Hall's serve sailed into the net. The Bulldogs committed an untimely unforced error and Vinson's kill closed out the match.

Alyssa Spell handed out 16 assists for Rosewood and Rachyle McAlduff added 14 digs. Gurley and Tyndall both had eight digs.

The Eagles (11-3 overall, 5-0 CC) moved into sole possession of first place in the conference with the victory and travel to Ayden-Grifton on Thursday. Princeton plays host to Spring Creek.

"It's pretty big to win this first one," said Cochran. "We have to make sure that when they come to us, since we're so evenly matched, we've got to learn to bring it, stay together, talk and not do what we did in the second set."