It’s always fun to get together for a block party.
And after the performance that the Portsmouth Trojans’ volleyball program put together on Saturday evening, one is certainly in order.
From the outset, Sarah Prosch’s group wasted no time putting together a block party on the volleyball court as Portsmouth collected four blocks over the first 15 volleys of action to sprint out to a huge first set lead and never looked back as Lyda Spencer’s 10 kills, four aces, and two blocks, along with seven aces and five kills from Aiden Fields, allowed Portsmouth to roll to an impressive straight-set victory over South Point (25-9, 25-15, 25-12) en route to a Division III Sectional Championship winning effort at Portsmouth High School on Saturday afternoon.
For Sarah Prosch, the key was all about starting fast against the Pointers, who took Portsmouth to five sets in a thrilling OVC matchup last Thursday in South Point in a match that the Lady Trojans pulled out.
“We really put a lot of emphasis on being ready to play and coming ready to play in practice,” Prosch said. “South Point just took us to five (sets) earlier this week, and it can be hard to beat a team three times in a season, so we really pushed that all week, and the girls definitely responded by showing how well they can play with their performance (on Saturday).”
And from the outset, Portsmouth was bound and determined not to allow South Point to even obtain so much as a lead on Saturday.
After obtaining a pair of blocks from Spencer and Katie Fannin to open up the match, Portsmouth jumped out to a 3-0 lead before South Point took three of the following four service points to close the gap to a 4-3 margin.
From there, however, the Lady Trojans kicked it into high gear for the remainder of the contest.
Behind an additional block from Fannin, three kills and an ace from Savanna Spence, and three aces from Fields, Portsmouth showed to all the fans in attendance why it is considered one of the top units in the Southeast District as the Lady Trojans went on a massive 15-2 tilt to cruise to a 25-9 first set victory behind its five-ace, four-block performance.
“Our middles (Spence, Anne Marie Raies) really set that up,” Prosch said of the effective blocking. “They’ve really come around and are working very hard.”
In the second set of play, South Point obtained the initial salvo on a kill, but the aforementioned play would be the lone lead that the Lady Pointers would hold over the entire match as Portsmouth quickly stormed back behind the play of Fannin, Raies, and Spencer. The duo combined for 13 kills over the next 30 volleys in the set to quickly obtain a 19-11 advantage, then closed the deal behind the effective serving of Fields, who racked up three consecutive aces on Portsmouth’s 5-0 second-set-ending spurt.
“It really is a total team effort,” Prosch said. “Lyda and Katie are really strong servers, Aiden and Anne are really strong hitters, Ally Ferrera plays phenomenal in the back row, and Allison Douthat is a phenomenal setter, so it really is a total team effort. Those six seniors are really something else.”
Even after the strong performances that the Lady Trojans put together over the first two sets of action, Portsmouth showed no signs of slowing down in the third set as Portsmouth followed its 5-0 run at the end of the second set with yet another 5-0 run to begin the third set behind the play of Spencer, who collected a pair of kills during the spurt.
The senior outside hitter, along with Raies, a senior middle hitter, dominated the remaining set of action as Spencer obtained six kills and two aces while Raies added a solo block, three assisted blocks, and two kills in the set to allow Portsmouth to close the deal quickly.
“The girls are really starting to come around,” Prosch said. “They’re playing the best when they need to play their best, so it’s nice to see.”
With the victory, Portsmouth improved its record to a very respectable 15-8 for the 2017 campaign. The Lady Trojans will face Chillicothe Huntington in the Division III District Semifinals on Wednesday at 7 p.m., with the winner advancing to Saturday’s Division III District Final matchup against either Chillicothe Southeastern or Fairland.
“It’s going to be tough,” Prosch said of the district tournament. “They know that each game, from here on out, is going to be really tough. However, we were there last year and all of them know exactly what to expect, so that helps us.”