Thursday marked the two schools’ fourth state tournament meeting in the past two seasons. Knoxville Catholic beat Portland 3-1 in last year’s Class AA quarterfinals before suffering a 3-1 championship defeat.
“It’s definitely intense,” Bullington said of the recent rivalry between the two schools. “We’re both very good teams, and we both compete hard. We both have the love for the game and passion for the game. It’s about who wants it more and who’s going to play best that game.”
Bullington, who is committed to play beach volleyball for Missouri State next year, finished with 31 kills and 20 digs. Savannah Pippin contributed 11 kills for the Lady Panthers (44-7), while Katie Crutchfield added six kills and 15 digs.
“We had a rhythm this year,” Lesemann said of Portland’s second trip to the state tournament in as many seasons. “We knew what we were going to do in between matches and everything, and it wasn’t new to us. Playing on the big court today, it wasn’t a new experience for them and I think that helped.”