PRINCETON — Variety may be the so-called spice of life but it also the reason why the Princeton volleyball team has high hopes entering this year’s 1A state playoffs.
The Bulldogs’ dynamic attack was on full display Saturday afternoon as Princeton swept past Manteo, the No. 4 seed out of the Coastal 10 Conference, in the first round 25-8, 25-17, 25-15.
As the Redskins tried to shut down one cog in the Bulldogs’ attack – Savanna Massengill – more power sources were utilized for the straight set win that propelled Princeton (23-1) to the second round and a matchup against familiar Carolina Conference foe Lakewood.
“We have great hitters and I feel we have a deep hitting line from outside to right side and both middles,” said Princeton coach Paige Renfrow. “When one is getting picked up, we’ll shoot to another one just to throw it off balance and to see where we can get a kill and finish it off.”
Massengill dominated at the net in the first set with four kills and a pair of blocks to help the Bulldogs ease past the visitors in businesslike fashion.
However, in the second set Manteo (13-8) started doing a better job at digging Massengill’s shots and put together a 9-2 run to draw to within 17-16. Princeton responded with Kasey Edwards who helped the Bulldogs close out the set on an 8-1 run, fueled by three of Edwards’ kills.
All told, six different Princeton hitters recorded kills on the match. Massengill had eight kills, Edwards had seven and Tori Paul pitched in with six of her own.
“We definitely worked as a team tonight,” said libero Jenna Woodard. “We all covered the floor well and then we all had great hits. We’re going to the second round of the playoffs and we’re all excited about it.”
Taylor Carroll and Charley Cox each had 11 digs and Woodard also finished in double figures with 10. Cox also had 26 assists.
The defensive effort was a primary focus for Renfrow heading into the match and she left feeling pleased with her team’s effort.
“We’ve been working hard on our tip coverage and our off-the-block coverage,” Renfrow said. “Our defense did a great job covering off of our tips off of the blocks and the hitters’ roll shots that were being hit to open holes.
“The better teams are going to be placing it and I know that all we’re going to see from here on out are the best of the best so we’ve got to be ready for everything.”
Manteo’s Kaylee Thomas led the Redskins with six kills and Hannah Maher had 15 assists.