The Portland Lady Panthers won their fourth straight district title last Thursday by defeating White House Heritage in three sets. The win pushed the Purple to this week's region tourney and a chance to advance and defend their state titles won in 2017 and 2018.
"This never gets old," Coach Rob Lesemann said after seeing the team receive the championship plaque. "You never know what is going to happen in the tournaments. We want the girls to be successful. It's not about me, or Ginger, or Connie. We know how hard the girls work and we want to see them get some success. This is when the girls get really focused. They know what they want to do and what to do to get there. We are more focused in practice."
The Lady Panthers dominated all three sets in the 25-14, 25-16, 25-13 sweep of Macon County.
"Macon County is no easy win," Lesemann said. "They play good defense and you have to hit to beat them."
The Lady Panthers won the first set by 11 points and took over in the second after the two teams were tied at 9-9. Portland went on a 16-7 run to close out the game for the nine-point margin of victory. In the third set, the Purple fell behind 2-1 before getting untracked to build a double-digit lead and win 25-13.
Katie Crutchfield had 16 digs and 14 kills in the three games while Savanah Pippin added 13 kills and an ace. Emily Rogers finished with 12 digs and Josie Runyon collected seven digs, two kills, three aces and 38 assists. Jordyn Latimer contributed seven digs and a trio of aces, Anna McGlothlin had three digs and five kills with Ashton Hoffman coming up with 12 digs, a single kill, and three aces. Emma High recorded three digs and six kills.
The win set up Portland's District 11 championship battle with White House Heritage. The Lady Panthers swept the Patriots in three sets 25-12, 25-9, 25-13.
Pippin started off the set with a kill and the home team never trailed as the lead swelled to as much as 13 points with Runyon closing out the set on a serve. The second game was tied at 3-3 before the Lady Panthers started rolling and posted a 16-point win.
White House Heritage took their only lead of the entire match at 1-0 to open the third set before the Lady Panthers took off again and rolled to their double-digit victory.
For the match, Crutchfield had nine digs and 12 kills with Pippin contributing 13 kills and a dig. Rogers came up with 19 digs, a kill and two aces while Runyon finished with 11 digs, three kills and 28 assists. Latimer recorded four digs and three aces, High netted six kills, five kills, and a single ace and Hoffman had five digs. McGlothlin had a dig and Raleigh Hester rounded out the scoring with one kill.
"Everyone contributed tonight," Lesemann said. "We had role players that came in and served and played back row in Latimer, Hoffman, McGlothlin, and Hester. We had a good night."