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Princeton’s volleyball team was hit hard by COVID-19 last year and multiple shut downs affected the team and their chemistry on the court. With the virus hopefully remaining in check, the Tigers aim to play with improved teammate on the court. 

2020 Results: 3-9 (1-9 in M8);No postseason (COVID-19).

Last season was a difficult one for the Princeton volleyball team.

Battling restrictions paired with stretches of lack of play due to the virus, the Tigers were not able to get on a roll until late into the season that ended early from COVID-19.

Not having that consistent time playing and practicing together, it was difficult to build chemistry and confidence on the floor said Tigers’ outside hitter, Julia Slipy. “It was hard when we were actually able to get on the court to know how each other worked and how to play together,” said Slipy.

Now with COVID-19 hopefully taking a back seat for the team, Princeton aims to build that chemistry and confidence as a team while taking a step forward in the standings.

One of the biggest factors the Tigers saw in that late season turnaround was a sureness that was gained from consistent playing time together.

Princeton setter, Faith Zins expects that change to carry over into the upcoming season. “Last year our biggest problem was confidence in ourselves and each other. This year, there’s a huge difference,” she said.

Keying that change in confidence was the added cohesion on the court that comes from competing together.

Having that chemistry, knowledge and trust of each other’s play style going into the new year is a huge benefit to the squad according to Zins. “It’s huge. If a ball is coming between us, I trust they will get that,” said Zins.

Though having that new found cohesion and confidence, Princeton will be losing some key seniors from last year’s team, in Taylor Mollet and Gabi Molitior.

To fill the spots left open by the graduating seniors, the underclassmen will be key said Labero Emily Kramer. “The younger girls will have to step up and be ready to play those positions,” said Kramer.

So far, the younger teammates look to be up to the task and ready to roll when the season starts according to Princeton Head Coach Sarah Rittenhouse. “We did lose some key seniors but I am very happy with how the girls have stepped up and stepped up in those positions. They are ready to take it on and go for it,” said Rittenhouse.

Aiding in the younger girls’ step into the bigger roles in the will be the third year of Rittenhouse’s system.

Coming in with that knowledge of what is expected on the court by the Tigers, Princeton is giving their coach optimism on what the season will bring. “I am very excited because I have seen a difference from the last two years to this year at this point. We are a little farther ahead than we have been and that’s all to the kids’ hard work. It’s been really good,” said Rittenhouse.

With the positive factors working together in Princeton’s favor, Rittenhouse aims to have the Tigers’ to be a tough out in every match. “I want us to be competitive. That’s where I want to be. I want us to be in every match where we can be in the position to win,” she said.

As the Tigers prepare for the season, Princeton will be presented with a new challenge in a different Class and Section presented for the team.

Rittenhouse looks at the change as a new opportunity. “We are still going to have to grind and it going to be a tough one but It gives us a better opportunity,” she said.

Having all the factors working to the Tiger’s favor, the Princeton squad kicked off their season on Aug. 26, taking on Duluth East in Duluth.

The Greyhounds were able to get the best of the Tigers, winning 3-1.

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