PRESTON—It wasn’t a pretty win for the Prince of Peace volleyball team on Tuesday night.
In a game ridden with errors on both sides, the Irish came out on top of a Tri-Rivers Conference rivalry game against Easton Valley 3-1.
The Irish won 25-23, 21-25, 25-18, 25-21.
“We knew this was going to be a battle,” Prince of Peace head coach Stacie Kenneavy said. “It’s always fun to play against Easton Valley and we knew they were going to block us. I’m not sure we did the best on covering or making smart decisions but down the line we figured it out.”
After Prince of Peace jumped out to a substantial lead in Set 4, Easton Valley got their attack in order. Big swings from the likes of Macy Wilhelm and RaeAnn Carlson whittled down the Prince of Peace lead to just one with minimal points left to go to 25.
Behind serving from Irish sophomore Lilly Isenhour, including two aces, the Irish pulled away again. They rattled off six straight, eventually closing out the final 25-21 win over the River Hawks to seal the match.
The entire game went in waves, riddled with errors from both TRC squads.
The Irish were plagued with bad passing, a big switch up from their stellar defensive performance on Monday night. Every swing the River Hawks sent over, the Irish seemed a step slow.
“It’s not being disciplined on defense,” Kenneavy said. “It’s something we’re still working on.”
Prince of Peace also had issues hitting around big blocks from Easton Valley, who leads the Tri-Rivers Conference in the statistic thanks to lengthy arms in the middle. That included 25 attack errors by the Irish.
The Irish got into a rut in the second set thanks to blocks from right side junior RaeAnn Carlson, who topped off a big run with a powerful cross-court kill to help seal the set for the River Hawks and even things 1-1. Carlson ended with five blocks on the night.
“We’re definitely on an upswing, with a winning streak heading into the conference tournament,” Kenneavy said. “But we’ll be working on serve receive and blocking in practice.”
Easton Valley also struggled with passing, leaving them out of system. In fact, the Irish notched ten aces off of them.
“It’s always passing,” Easton Valley head coach Denise Larson said. “We’re not great out of system. Prince of Peace is much better out of system than we are. They can throw and arm here or throw and arm there. We just don’t play well out of system.”
Although there were moments where the River Hawks looked impressive, led by nine kills from Wilhelm and another six from Kierra Messerich, they were inconsistent throughout the night.
“We’re such a waving team,” Larson said. “We look amazing at times ... but there are too many ups and downs, too many inconsistencies and mental things.”
After evening the game at 1-1, Easton Valley saw the Irish jump out to a fast lead in Set 3. They pulled close, but never closed the gap. It was the first set where the two teams didn’t exchange leads and left the River Hawks trailing once again.
“We came into the third game and we tend to relax a little too much,” Larson said. “Then we’re back in the same boat and digging ourselves out of a hole.”
The River Hawks have a tough test on Thursday, taking on No. 6 Lisbon on the road. They come back to Preston next week for Senior Night, welcoming Marquette Catholic.
The Irish close out their regular season games with the win. Having won nine of their last eleven and three straight conference matches, they now look to the TRC tournament next week before heading to the postseason.