The Tigers and Wolves volleyball teams haven’t met since 2014, but thanks to COVID-19 cancelations, the two got a chance to renew their rivalry on Nov. 13. Both teams were searching for an opponent when the teams decided to schedule a doubleheader in Milaca.
Milaca was fresh off a five-set loss to Pierz on Nov. 10 while Princeton fell to powerful North Branch, 3-0 on the same date.
In the renewed rivalry, Princeton was able to strike first, taking both contests. The Tigers were able to win the first game 3-1 followed by a 3-0 victory.
The former conference rivals have yet to find their footing on the volleyball court this season. Both teams have shown flashes and improvement over the year but neither has found that consistency in the strange season that has been presented to them as both entered with one win on the year.
Princeton was able to find confidence playing against the Wolves and that was the difference in the matches according to Tigers’ Head Coach Sarah Rittenhouse. “I think the girls felt more confident and more confident with the way they played. They played a lot better than they did against North Branch,” she said.
Though Princeton was able to win 3-1, each game was a hard fought match with all sets being close games with the Tigers edging the Wolves. Princeton won game one 25-19, with Milaca taking the second game 25-21.
The Tigers were able to pick up consecutive 25-21 wins to take the first match.
Faith Zins led Princeton in the win with her 29 assists and 15 digs while Lauren Wilson added 12 kills in victory.
Milaca saw strong performances from Macy Mach as she put up 20 assists while Emily Addy had 15 digs in the loss.
The second match between the two was much like the first as Princeton had to earn their 3-0 win as Milaca lost 25-19, 26-14 and 25-23.
Milaca didn’t make anything easy for the Tigers said Rittenhouse. “Milaca did a good job defensively, they frustrated our hitters.”
Wolves’ Head Coach James Taylor said it was back and forth all night long. “They were very competitive matches all night,” he said.
Princeton’s Taylor Mollet starred in the contest 11 kills and 12 digs with help from Zins’ 29 assists.
Wolves’ Erika Kotsmith picked up three aces and eight kills in the loss while Lexy Gall and Mach each added 13 digs.
The losses drop Milaca to 1-8 while Princeton improves to 3-7.
Despite the losses there were some positives to take away from the game. “Our hitting was better, that’s what I’ll show them and that was something we were working on,” said Taylor adding that the team needs to be more consistent with their passing.
The Wolves will now head to Pine City on Nov. 20 as COVID-19 affects the team’s scheduling. Milaca had a contest scheduled for Nov. 16 against Holdingford but the game was canceled.
For Princeton, they will hope to use they wins to get the team rolling. “It was really good for our team to get the two wins. It was a good confidence booster, and it shows that we are working hard,” said Rittenhouse.
The Tigers returned to action Nov. 17 as they prepared to play Becker.