The Portland volleyball team punched their ticket to their third straight state tournament appearance (which is in progress this week) by defeating Hume Fogg in three sets last Thursday in the TSSAA sectionals. The Lady Panthers won 25-10, 25-13, and 24-15 in straight sets to earn the victory.
"The girls showed up tonight," Coach Rob Lesemann noted. "I'm a nervous wreck before the match and girls act like they have no concern at all."
The Lady Panthers rolled out to a 7-0 lead before Hume Fogg got on the scoreboard. The Purple stretched their lead to double digits throughout the set to win by 15.
"We knew Hume Fogg was a good team,"
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" Lesemann said. "With these girls, the better the team, the more excited they are about playing them."
The Lady Knights led 3-2 in the early moments of the middle set before the Purple got going. The score was tied at 3-3 and later, the Lady Panthers went on a 5-0 streak for an 8-3 advantage and never looked back. The lead was extended to 10 on a 5-0 run and Portland went on for the 12-point margin of victory.
Portland took charge in the final set, never trailed and used an 8-0 streak to go up 13-3. The Lady Panthers continued to roll and increased the advantage to 14, 23-9 en route to the win.
"I'm excited for the seniors," Lesemann said of the team's chance to defend their back-to-back state titles. "We know we have to play well. We have played a lot of good teams this season. These girls enjoy being around each other and it's a great team to be around. I want the girls to play as long as they can. You never know what might happen at the state tournament. We didn't know how we would be this season, but we had some girls to step up. We are thankful for the crowd tonight. The students and the administration and fans."
For the match, Katie Crutchfield finished with 12 digs, seven kills and an assist while Savanah Pippin recorded 18 kills, a block and an ace. Emily Rogers reached double figures with 14 digs, three aces and three assists. Josie Runyon collected 27 assists, came up with seven digs and had five kills. Ashton Hoffman came up with nine digs, two aces and four assists. Emma High netted five digs, four kills and an assist with Jordyn Latimer contributing seven digs and a pair of aces. Rayleigh Hester had two kills and Anna McGlothlin came through with a dig.