ANNA — Anna’s Lady Coyotes took three straight sets from Princeton on Friday, Sept. 29, for a much-needed win in District 11-4A volleyball action. The win, by counts of 25-15, 25-14, 25-23, moved Anna’s district record to 1-2, and Lady Coyotes head coach Tomika Crosby said this victory was right on time.

“I told the girls, ‘This is a win that we have to have. Starting off 0-2 in district … this is one we have to have tonight at home.’ It’s going to hard to beat Princeton in Princeton. It was important. It was vital. And I’m just proud of the girls for doing it in three,” Crosby said.

Anna cruised through Sets 1 and 2 then fought off a furious Lady Panther rally in Set 3 for the sweep. “They played,” Crosby said. “Everything we’ve been working on, it finally clicked. We had less hitting errors, we had less missed serves. It just all started working together. This week, surprisingly, we took it easy. We had relaxed practices, no pressure. And I guess it’s what they needed — a change of pace.

“My girls are very emotional. When they mess up, they’re so upset about disappointing their teammates that they hold on to it. So we worked this week on just letting it go.”

Junior Hannah Howell led Anna with 10 kills while senior Taylor Medrick put up eight. Senior libero Micaela Cornelius posted a team-high 12 digs, with Howell posting six and Medrick and senior Julianne Curiel each collecting four. Junior Bella Boyd’s 17 set-assists were tops for the Lady Coyotes.

In Set 1, Anna fought back from an early 5-3 deficit to take the lead for good, at 7-6, on a Medrick service ace. After a flurry of Princeton hitting errors, the Lady Coyotes surged to a 15-8 advantage on a lob-kill from Howell, Boyd’s deep service ace and a Stewart kill. Big digs from Cornelius kept volleys alive for the Boyd and Stewart points.

Anna’s lead stretched to 20-9, boosted by back-to-back tip kills from Medrick, before the Lady Panthers made a run. Princeton started with a kill then was aided by four Lady Coyote hitting errors to trail, 20-14. An ace from Howell began Anna’s final push and consecutive Medrick kills sent to margin to 24-15. From there, sophomore Rachel Goade’s tip over the net ended the set in Lady Coyote victory.

Medrick went high for a kill at the net to give Anna a 6-4 lead in Set 2, and soon the Lady Coyotes pulled away again. Three straight Anna points —a cross-court kill by Goade, a tip-over from Medrick and a Medrick block-kill — sent the lead to 11-5. Howell’s kill, then two more from her helped boost Anna’s advantage to 19-10 before Stewart’s kill doubled-up the score. Single kills from Howell and Stewart down the stretch aided the Lady Coyotes’ move to 24-14 and an errant Princeton shot closed out the set.

Set 3 featured 10 ties on the way to 14-14 as the Lady Panthers scrapped to salvage at least one frame. From there, Anna erupted for 10 straight points and the set started to look a lot like the first two. Lady Coyote highlights here included kills from Boyd and Howell and a Medrick ace, as Princeton provided several hitting errors as well. The Lady Panthers, though, weren’t done this time, storming back with a 9-0 run to force an Anna timeout. Out of the break, Princeton drew to within 24-20 with an ace before three Lady Coyote hitting errors shrunk Anna’s margin to 24-23.

That’s when Howell stepped up and slapped down a kill to end the match. “It got kind of stressful at the end,” Crosby smiled, adding, “I’m sweating now.”