PRINCETON — Princeton continued to roll along in Carolina 1A Conference volleyball play last week, downing North Duplin in three sets on Tuesday, then sweeping back-to-back matches against Goldsboro on Wednesday and Thursday.
But the Bulldogs and Cougars tried to do a little more than just compete against each other this week, holding “Diggin for a Cure” cancer fundraising events in conjunction with their Wednesday match at Princeton and the Thursday rematch in Goldsboro.
The matches are just one of many high school contests being played this month that includes a cancer research fundraising effort. Proceeds from raffles and special sales at the two matches will be donated to cancer research causes.
Princeton’s side fundraising efforts at Wednesday’s match raised more than $180. (Proceed totals from Thursday’s match were not available.)
“Cancer is a huge thing that affects a lot of people’s lives,” said Princeton coach Paige Renfrow. “And we all know someone who has suffered because of it. We have three players on our team this year whose parents or grandparents are cancer survivors.
“We wanted to do something to be a little part of fighting cancer.”
The Bulldogs and Cougars both wore special pink jerseys for the matches. Those jerseys featured the names of each players’ loved ones or friends who have suffered from cancer.
Princeton picked up a 25-6, 25-8, 25-18 victory in Wednesday’s match and won 25-0, 25-13, 25-8 on Thursday.
The Bulldogs (9-6 overall, 8-0 conference) are already assured of a playoff spot and are a win away from clinching no worse than a share of their second straight conference championship with just one win this week. This, after the young squad posted a 1-6 mark in non-conference play.
“There were times where I was a little concerned about it (the level of play) being too much for us,” Renfrow said. “But then I’d see who other teams in our conference were playing in non-conference and their results and it would show me that we were probably going to be alright in conference play.
“We were taking those bigger schools to four or five sets even though we were losing a lot of those matches.”
That experience continued to pay off in the wins over Goldsboro. Amber Hill had nine kills and five aces in Wednesday’s match, while Savanna Massengill contributed seven kills and five blocks.
Thursday, Princeton was even more dominant. Taylor Carroll served a perfect game in the first set, 25 straight points to start a second consecutive three-set sweep win over the Cougars. Carroll finished with six aces.
Hill had 14 kills in the match, while Kasey Edwards contributed seven kills.
“Playing those large teams only made us stronger,” Renfrow said. “We were a young team, really young so we needed to be as prepared as we could be when conference play started.
“Playing Bunn, Fike, Cleveland and South Johnston, those kinds of teams prepared us for the kind of court coverage we need to have and the hard hits we know we’ll have to do well against in conference play.
“It’s worked out even better than I hoped it would so far.”