WAVERLY — Over the course of their careers, the five seniors that made up the Portsmouth volleyball program in 2017 have a great deal to be proud of. Three consecutive winning seasons, along with 14 wins or more during each campaign, certainly backs that point up in spades.
And even though the Lady Trojans fell in straight sets to a talented Chillicothe Huntington squad (25-23, 25-12, 25-20) on Wednesday evening at Waverly High School, the entire team — especially the departing hands of Allison Douthat, Aiden Fields, Aly Ferrara, Anne Marie Raies, and Lyda Spencer — have a great deal to be proud of, especially considering that they’ve won 47 games over the last three seasons.
“I always tell the girls to give it everything they’ve got, and lay it all out there, and that’s what they do,” Prosch said. “There’s just not enough words to describe the effort that they put into.”
After totaling four blocks over the first 15 volleys of action against South Point in its sectional final-winning effort on Saturday evening, Portsmouth wasted no time putting together a similar effort on Wednesday evening as the Lady Trojans collected five blocks over the initial 35 volleys to take an 18-17 advantage, with Raies collecting two kills and contributing three blocks of her own to the cause.
However, the play of Riley Black, who obtained three kills and two additional aces, looked like it was going to be too much for the Lady Trojans to overcome as Black’s play allowed the Lady Huntsmen to go on a 7-2 spurt as Chillicothe Huntington threatened to put away the match via a 24-20 advantage.
But behind the play of Aiden Fields, along with an amazing effort from Portsmouth’s backline, the Lady Trojans went on a 3-0 spurt as Fields’ two kills and an attack error from Chillicothe Huntington immediately cut the Lady Huntsmen’s lead to a 24-23 count. Unfortunately, however, that run ended as an attack error allowed Chillicothe Huntington to take a 25-23 first-set victory.
“It just seemed like every time we had a volley going, Chillicothe Huntington would come up with something crazy,” Prosch said. “We couldn’t do anything about it, and you have those games. It just stinks that it had to be this one.”
And unfortunately, things didn’t get much better for Prosch’s group in the second set. In fact, Black, along with fellow captain Augusta Hooks, obtained five kills over the game’s final 13 volleys en route to giving the Lady Huntsmen a 25-12 victory in the second set and a 2-0 match lead.
However, with Portsmouth fighting for its tournament life, the Lady Trojans didn’t back down.
After falling behind by an 8-3 margin in the third set, Portsmouth, behind the gritty backline play of Douthat, Spencer, and others, rallied, and behind three kills from fields, along with an ace from Katie Fannin and a kill from Douthat, tied the score at 17-all. From there, however, Chillicothe Huntington kicked its offensive attack into overdrive by scoring on eight of the final 11 volleys to take the set and the match.
Still, there’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of, especially for the five departing seniors — who turned a program that went 0-13 in 2013 to a unit that collected its third consecutive winning season — an amazing turnaround that was engineered primarily by this senior class.
“These seniors give it everything they have,” Prosch said. “Words can’t express how proud I am of them in everything that they do, and how much their impact will be missed. Aiden will be missed not just for her volleyball skills, but for her attitude and spunkiness. Aly will be missed for her fun. She just has fun. Anne is just a great personality to be around, on and off of the court. She is just amazing. Allison’s the hardest-working player I’ve ever coached. I’ve never seen a volleyball player give as much as she does, ever. Lyda has so much heart and so much talent that it’s just amazing. These girls are just going to be really missed.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @KColleyPDT