KENLY — The volleyball teams from Princeton and North Johnston opened the season facing off Tuesday but neither side was exactly sure why things had gone the way they did. Sure, Princeton, a state 1A semifinalist in 2012, took a four-set (25-5, 25-14, 20-25, 25-20) victory but from the puzzling first set to Norths sudden set win after a far-from-great start left both sides perplexed.
Im not sure exactly what happened, said North coach Nicole Davis. We werent ready to play, thats for sure. Im not satisfied with any of it.
The Bulldogs rolled to a 9-0 lead on Taylor Carrolls serve in the first set and led 17-2 at one point before settling for a 20-point victory.
The Panthers found themselves in another hole (11-2) in the second set but a couple of solid serving stretches kept things somewhat competitive. Princeton senior hitter Savanna Massengill had three early kills in the second set and the Bulldogs totaled four aces in the set.
Then, suddenly, in the third set, North Johnston started winning the important points in a highly competitive set. The undersized Panthers fought off Princetons attacks and found some open lanes for winners around Princetons front line.
They scrapped for everything they had, said Princeton coach Paige Renfrow of North Johnston. They got to a lot of balls and made us work more. They have good defenses.
North pulled itself into the lead midway of the third set, then picked up a pair of key kills from Jamie Johnson down the final stretch of the set to get a 25-20 win.
I was so disappointed in the third game, Renfrow said. North played well but we made too many mental errors, let balls drop.
The fourth set followed a familiar script with North going up 17-16 on a Johnson kill that caught the net and fell up, but Princeton earned a side out, then went up 20-17 on a winning tip by Jasmine Bombard and a Kasey Edwards kill.
Chandler Hines got the serve back with a kill for North, which did pull back even at 20 before Princeton reeled off the matchs final five points for the win. Bombard served out the match with back-to-back kills by Carroll ending the match.
Carroll and Tori Paul had 11 kills each for Princeton, while Massengill added eight kills.
Jenna Woodard finished with 20 digs and Charley Cox had 38 assists.
We need to improve handling back row lobs and balls to the deep corners, Renfrow said. Charley played great defense on the back row. Were still learning defensive coverages but she worked hard the entire night. Were trying to hit more from the back row.
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