10/18/12 — Carolina 1-A semifinals: Gators test Dogs early

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Carolina 1-A semifinals: Gators test Dogs early

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on October 18, 2012 1:49 PM

PRINCETON -- Fourth-seeded Spring Creek came ready to play.

Top-seeded Princeton took a while to get going.

In the end, the Bulldogs took a 25-19, 19-25, 25-19, 25-15 victory in the semifinal round of the Carolina 1-A Conference volleyball tournament.

Princeton entertains Rosewood in the finals at 7 p.m. today.

"I am glad that we won, but I am not happy with how we won," Princeton head coach Paige Renfrow said. "Spring Creek came out with a lot of intensity and we did not match that early on."

The Gators opened an 11-2 lead in the first set before Princeton rallied for the victory. The second set was very similar as Spring Creek played excellent defense and frustrated the Bulldog hitters.

With the set tied at 18-18 things came unraveled for the Bulldogs as four consecutive hitting errors allowed the Gators to pull away. Olivia Martinez capped the second-set victory with a kill.

"I thought we did a really nice job of moving the ball and staying away from their size advantage at the net," Spring Creek head coach Deanna Morris said. "This team has improved a lot since the start of the season and I think we showed that tonight."

Princeton bounced back in the third set as hitters Amber Hill and Savanna Massengill found their touch. Hill powered down consecutive kills to put the Bulldogs ahead 6-1. Princeton never trailed in the set and took the advantage in the match.

The fourth set was all Bulldogs as Taylor Carroll opened play on serve and reeled off 11 consecutive points. The Gators never mounted a serious challenge the rest of the way.

"It is such a huge difference playing with the lead," Renfrow said. "The first two sets we fell behind early and had to try to claw our way back. The last two sets were much better because we got ahead in the first few points and could play our game."

Hill led the Bulldogs with nine kills and one block. Massengill added seven kills and three blocks.

Rachel McCollum led Spring Creek with seven kills. Martinez added five kills.

Spring Creek returns to action Saturday at Dixon in the opening round of the N.C. High School Athletic Association 1-A playoffs. The game time has not been determined.