PORTSMOUTH — Two matches, 10 sets, two losses. It’s been a long few days for the Portsmouth Trojans.
After dropping a five-game match with a very talented Wheelersburg squad on Saturday, the Trojans fell in five sets to Piketon 26-24. 22-25, 25-23, 21-25, 15-12 in a non-conference match on Monday evening at Portsmouth High School.
“I think we were fine coming in. I just don’t think we could fully get it together,” Portsmouth volleyball coach Sarah Prosch said. “We were playing more defense than offense tonight.”
The Trojans seemed to have put Saturday’s tough loss behind them, as they came out of the locker room strong. Allison Douthat and Baliley Horsley each came up with big turns with the serve, and the Trojans quickly jumped out to an 8-3 lead. But the Redstreaks answered right back with an 11-2 run to shift the momentum. Though Andi Queen served Portsmouth on a quick run to tie the score at 23, Piketon held control the rest of the match. Emily Legg came up with an ace on game point, and the Redstreaks took game one 26-24.
The serve-receive rut that Portsmouth faced in the first game proved to be a theme all night long.
“When you’re having an off-night in passing, you’re whole game is going to be off and you’re going to struggle,” Prosch said.
In the next set, it was Piketon that jumped out to a quick 9-6 lead on the back of two kills by Legg. But Portsmouth fought its way back, and a Horlsey kill tied the score at 12. From there, the teams traded points — until Douthat went to serve with the score tied at 21. She recorded three quick points, and Aiden Fields finished it off with a kill and two points of her own to give the Trojans a 25-22 game two win.
The Redstreaks threatened to take control for good in game three, as Legg and Payton Reuter combined to serve Piketon to a 5-1 run to put the Redstreaks up 13-5. But the Trojans responded with a run of their own. They came up with a 16-6 extended run to take control of the set, capped off by a three-point run from Horsley that included kills from Anne Marie Raies and Lyda Spencer. Portsmouth seemed poised to steal game three, leading 23-21.
But serve-receive problems came back to haunt the Trojans. After a kill by Jordan Morris gave the serve back to the Redstreaks, Reuter served Piketon to three straight points. Later, Legg ended the set with a kill, and Piketon took a 2-1 match lead with a 25-23 win.
With the match on the line in the fourth set, the Trojans turned to their hot hands — Spencer and Fields. Spencer came up with a 4-0 run to give the Trojans a 15-6 lead, and when the Redstreaks fought their way back, Fields came up with a 3-0 run of her own. Portsmouth took game four 25-21 to extend the match.
“(Spencer) played her heart out tonight. When she gets a set, she kills the ball every time,” Prosch said. “(Fields) is always one that I can get the ball to and count on, no matter what. She’s usually my go-to, and I want the ball in her hands.”
But the Trojans couldn’t finish in the decisive fifth game. Though Douthat served Portsmouth to a quick 4-1 lead, it wouldn’t last long. Cami Chandler came up with two kills down the stretch, and Erykah Scott finished it off with two aces to clinch the match for Piketon.
Though its been two long back-to-back matches for Portsmouth, they won’t have much time to recover. They take the court on Tuesday, as they host South Point in an OVC match.
“I’m hoping to just chalk (tonight’s match) up and come out and play like I know we can,” Prosch said.
Piketon also returns to action on Tuesday, when they travel to Southeastern.
Reach Alex Hider at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter