Raleigh Charter defeats Princeton in 1-A east volleyball final
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on October 31, 2012 1:49 PM
PRINCETON -- Once the final point played out, the Princeton faithful rose to their feet and awarded their volleyball team with a well-deserved standing ovation Tuesday evening.
They undoubtedly appreciated the Dogs' phenomenal run that ended with a 25-22, 25-23, 25-19 loss to Raleigh Charter in the N.C. High School Athletic Association Class 1-A eastern regional championship. It was Princeton's first appearance in the regional title match since 2000.
Abby Keller distributed a match-high 38 assists among six hitters for the Phoenix, who face perennial power Hendersonville (20-6 overall) in the state final Saturday at Reynolds Coliseum on the N.C. State campus. First serve is 7:30 p.m.
"They were a great all-around team," second-year PHS head coach Paige Renfrow said. "We did an awesome job hanging right with them. We did not roll over and let Raleigh Charter have an easy win. We fought for everything.
"We just had a tough night tonight."
Princeton, which had its 16-match win streak snapped, couldn't prevent Raleigh Charter (22-5) from going on pivotal scoring spurts throughout the 1-hour, 19-minute affair. The teams battled through nine ties and five lead changes before the Phoenix closed the opening set with a 6-3 run.
The Bulldogs (17-7) fell behind early in the second set and pulled to within one point on three occasions. Raleigh Charter seized a 24-21 lead, but Princeton fended off two set points on Kasey Edwards' kill and Tori Paul's service ace.
Joanna Powers' kill off Keller's assist capped the set for the Phoenix.
Raleigh Charter stayed with its deep-serving tactics which led to transition balls and flourished in its offense, which included a bothersome slide kill that Princeton never solved.
The teams worked through 12 ties and 10 lead changes in the third set. The Phoenix forged in front 18-17 on Powers' 16th -- and final -- kill of the match. Keller's service ace and Mary Katherine Dudas' slam dunk on an overpass boosted the advantage to 20-17.
Princeton climbed to within 20-19 on consecutive kills from Edwards and Taylor Carroll, but could get no closer.
"They have the quick sets, everything is a shoot whether it's a back set, middle set or outside set, which is something we're not used to (seeing)," Renfrow said. "We couldn't get on a consistent run where we have in the past. It's tough to look at it that way.
"They knew what to do on the big points."
Raleigh Charter owned a 46-27 edge in team kills.
"We like to keep it close, don't need to build up a huge lead," Raleigh Charter head coach Mary Wands said of the close-set finishes. "That part makes me crazy, but they always manage to get it done."
Edwards pounded out six kills for the Bulldogs, who started the season 1-6. Savanna Massengill provided six kills and three solo blocks, while senior Amber Hill contributed five kills.
Charley Cox dished out 18 assists.
It was the final match for Hill and fellow seniors Logan Jones and Katie Bennett. The trio helped lead Princeton to back-to-back Carolina 1-A Conference regular-season and tournament championships.
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