By Curtis Marlin Portland Leader
The Portland volleyball team opened up the 2017 season by splitting a pair of matches at home.
Last Tuesday, the Lady Panthers lost their first game to South Warren 23-25 but came back to take the next three sets 25-19, 25-22 and 25-19.
“South Warren is always well-coached and fundamentally sound,” PHS coach Rob Lesemann said. “That is why we like to play them. It’s a measuring stick for us. It’s the first time we’ve beaten South Warren. We didn’t play well but it was a win.”
Katie Crutchfield came up with 26 digs while Lexi Wakefield had 25 and Rachel Jennings recorded 12. Jennings had 19 assists with McKennah Parker finishing with 17 and Wakefield contributing six.
Marlayna Bullington led the way in kills with 21 with Crutchfield finishing with 10, Savannah Pippin had seven, Taylor Cole netted five, Emily Brown collected four and Presley Cowan rounded out the kills with two.
Pippin had eight blocks with Brown, Cole and Crutchfield each registering two. Crutchfield also had 100 percent serving.
On Aug. 17, the Purple lost to former district rival Station Camp in four sets. The Lady Bison won the first 25-20 while Portland came back to score a 25-19 victory in game two. The visitors wrapped up the evening by taking the last two games by identical 18-25 margins.
“Station Camp is a big team that hits the ball well,” Lesemann explained. “Our passing was horrible and when the passing is bad, everything else follows.”
Wakefield led in digs with 25 while Crutchfield finished with 11 and Bullington had ten. Jennings netted six, Parker came up with three and Emily Rogers collected two. Bullington paced the team in kills with 12 with Crutchfield adding nine, Pippin and brown each had three and Cole contributed two.
Jennings and Parker combined for 27 assists.
Bullington and Jennings each contributed five aces and Wakefield had four.
“Our serving was not pretty,” Lesemann said. “We were not happy with how we played.”