PRINCETON — There were plenty of seats available in Tiger Arena, but Hatchet fans only needed the edges, as Washington and Princeton played in an enormously exciting four-game sectional quarterfinal.
Both teams faced big comebacks and both teams had to come up with big points to stay alive, however when it was all done, it was WHS avenging a regular season loss and moving on to the semis with a 3-1 win, 25-15, 25-22, 29-31, 25-20.
“We knew our seniors were hungry when they got on the bus, and our freshmen played so well. (Freshman) Kenna (Garland) had some big tip-kills and Olivia (Gilley) played so well,” said WHS coach Bret Matteson.
“We have faced so much adversity this year and I knew from the way we played tonight, they will fight through it. There was no quit in them, and I think that was the biggest thing we got out of tonight.”
Although WHS started the first game down 1-0, a block from Gilley, a kill from Alaina Thorne and Taylor Walls moved WHS a 6-3 lead. A kill from Kencia Levasseur made it 10-5, and with Ellie Reed serving, WHS pushed it to 13-5. The Tigers went on a two-point run and picked up three out of the next four points, before a Thorne kill made it 18-9. WHS was the first to 20 and Thorne’s ace made it 21-9. Princeton crept back to 15-23, but Gilley’s kill made it 25-15 and gave WHS a 1-0 advantage.
In game 2, Princeton roared out to a 7-1 lead and forced WHS to a timeout. WHS got back in the game at 3-8 and a kill from Reed made it 9-4 and then cut it back to 5-10. However, every WHS point was met with a Tiger point, as Princeton went up 14-8. A point from Thorne and a ball in the made it 10-16. Walls also had a kill, but the Tigers made 20-14. With Levasseur serving, WHS cut it to 21-22 and Princeton called a timeout. WHS tied it 22-all before taking the lead. Levasseur brought them all the way back, as WHS went on an 11-2 run and took a 2-0 lead with the 25-22 win.
Garland helped WHS out to to a 4-0 lead from behind the line and the lead grew to 6-1 before the Tigers picked up the side out. A Thorne kill made it 7-3 and a kill from Reed pushed it 11-4. Trinidy Reel added an ace for WHS’s 12 point. The Tigers crept back to 9-13 and then to 12-15 and finally 15-all. Gilley added a pair of dump kills, but the game was still tied at 17. Princeton would go up by two and then at 21-19, and 22-20.
A big kill from Levasseur cut it to 22-23, before WHS tied it at 24-all and 25-all and had it at match point, but Princeton wouldn’t quit. A Reed kill tied it at 28-all, before Princeton came away with the 31-29 exciting comeback win.
Both teams traded points in game four, but WHS was able to take a 7-4 lead. Reel added an ace to make it 9-4. A Reed kill pushed WHS to 10-6, but again the Tigers would claw into the lead. WHS pushed it back to 14-10 and 16-12 with a Gilley kill on the outside. A blast from Levasseur made it 19-15. The Hatchets took a 22-15 margin, but the next three points belonged to the Tigers, However, WHS was able to get the final kill from Thorne and the 25-20 win.
With the 3-1 win, WHS moved on to the semi-finals with Lincoln in the second game.
In the opening game, Sullivan defeated Pike Central in three games, 25-18, 25-18 and 25-19 and will move on to play Barr-Reeve on Saturday at 11 a.m.