With the top spot in the Carolina 1-A conference on the line, Princeton survived and advanced.
Down two sets and 12-11 in the final set to an excellent Neuse Charter squad, the Bulldogs rallied to complete the comeback in their five-set victory over the Cougars Thursday. Princeton (6-0, 5-0 CC) needed every point in the final moments to take control and their effort paid off.
“This match was an eye-opener for us,” said Bulldogs senior middle hitter Sara Daughtry. “We had a few great passes and swings that got us going in the third set and the momentum built up from there.”
Sophomore middle hitter Julia Bridges and senior setter Jordan Hester were the catalysts for the Cougars early as they built a 14-13 lead in a tight opening set. Princeton had answers, but the hosts had the early momentum with a 25-22 win to go up 1-0.
Neuse Charter dominated the early portion of the second set going up by as many as 13 before taking it 25-17. However, the Bulldogs wouldn’t go away thanks to the play of Daughtry and senior outside hitter Le’Onna Nelson. Senior Meredith Wooten hit on a couple of service aces as well helping Princeton get back in the contest with a pair of dominant sets of their own.
After tying the match with two 25-12 wins in the third and fourth set, the final set was an all-out battle. Both teams took turns trading the lead with the Bulldogs going up, 6-3 early before a great rally from the Cougars to tie it at nine. With their unbeaten record on the line after Neuse Charter went up 12-11, Princeton came through with four straight points to seal the match.
“If we defend and pass well, we’ll win matches,” Daughtry added. “This was a good test for us against a really good team. Covering and being in the right position will help us get better.”
The Bulldogs host Lakewood in another battle of undefeated conference records while the Cougars take on Hobbton in Newton Grove next Tuesday.