Dogs stop Golden Falcons
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on September 16, 2011 1:49 PM
PIKEVILLE -- For first-year Princeton head volleyball coach Paige Renfrow, the opportunity to return to her alma mater on Wednesday afternoon was sweet.
Leaving with a win was even sweeter.
The Bulldogs fought off two set points in a momentum-changing third set and earned a 21-25, 25-23, 26-24, 25-20 non-conference victory at Charles B. Aycock.
A Golden Falcons' error gave the Bulldogs a 20-17 late in the first set, prompting Aycock head coach Davis Harris to call a timeout. The Golden Falcons responded by winning eight of the next nine points to end the set. Connor Davis contributed two kills during that stretch and Meredith Burroughs and Reagan Herndon each added a kill.
Princeton's senior middle hitter Savanna Massengill began to assert herself in set two. Massengill supplied three blocks and a kill with her third block closing out the set.
Davis' kill late in set three gave Aycock a 24-21 lead. The Bulldogs' rode the heels of three consecutive Golden Falcons' miscues to tie the set at 24-24. Ashleigh Mayes' ace and Hannah Woodard's off-speed hit helped Princeton claim the pivotal third set.
"That changed the flow of the match," said Renfrow. "I just have to be proud of my girls because they never let up. We've been a strong team all year and they've had some losses and been able to bounce back. This is a huge confidence booster and this is my alma mater, and I told them this was very important to me.
"They knew it, and I'm just so proud of them."
Three aces from Linda Smith fueled Princeton as it jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the fourth set. Aycock climbed to within 16-11 on Burroughs' off-speed hit. Blocks from Woodard and Nicole Melvin and Megan Gerrell's kill stretched the margin to 21-12.
Massengill's block closed out the match. Massengill finished with 12 blocks and eight kills. Woodard added nine kills.
"In the first game I told Savanna she was slow on her block," said Renfrow. "It's like as soon as I said, 'you're slow, you're late,' it was like she turned it on and she was blocking everything. She was able to get there faster because she knew she was late. We blocked well today."
Davis led the Golden Falcons with 11 kills. Madison Mercer had seven kills. Aycock (7-2) suffered just its second loss of the season.
"We made mistakes at crucial times," said Harris. "We would get tied or take the lead, and then we would make a mistake. I'm not taking anything away from Princeton. That's the scrappiest bunch I've seen in years. We kept hitting the ball and hitting the ball and they would dig it up and dig it up.
"I think our hitters got frustrated."
Princeton travels to North Duplin today, while the Golden Falcons entertain Southern Wayne on Tuesday.
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