PORTSMOUTH — Coming in and out of Tuesday’s Ohio Valley Conference matchup with South Point, first-year Portsmouth volleyball coach Missy Ankrom is hopeful her Lady Trojans can consistently improve on some of the most important aspects that go into making a successful program.
This fall, the Lady Trojans have a roster featuring no seniors, several uber-athletic hitters, and name-your-role below-the-netters who have bought into the idea of doing anything it takes to help their team win.
Although it’s a trait Portsmouth showcased in Tuesday’s three-set win over South Point (25-12, 25-15, 25-15), for the Lady Trojans to take the next step in competing for a spot in the top half of the OVC standings and for a Division III sectional title, consistency will be vital in working to achieve those goals and setting high standards for the program.
“Just consistency. If we stay hot and continue getting our serves and passes, that’s the most important thing. Once we get our passes, then our sets are there and we’re going to be able to hit really well,” Ankrom said. “Just being consistent with that is what I’d like the team to be able to do. They’re working hard, staying positive is another key aspect — can’t get down when we make a mistake.”
Tuesday’s straight-sets win over the visiting Lady Pointers snapped a three-game skid for the Lady Trojans, which improved their record to 2-3 after earning a road win over Clay during the season’s first week.
In addition to earning their second win of the 2020 campaign, the Lady Trojans earned their first OVC win of the year — but not for a lack of effort.
In OVC road games last week, Portsmouth took Fairland (25-17, 25-10, 19-25, 25-18)and Coal Grove (25-13, 25-22, 18-25, 26-24) to four sets.
Despite falling in both contests, those games served as a fortuitous example of how the Lady Trojans would compete in their second OVC home game on Tuesday.
“We played as a team which was great to see,” Ankrom said. “Our passes, our hits, were on point. Great to see everything come together.”
Leading Portsmouth in the win offensively was junior Maddie Perry, who had a team-high 14 kills, three ace serves and seven digs.
Sophomores Kennedy Bowling and Sydney Tackett each had eight kills for the Lady Trojans, while Bowling added three blocks defensively.
Freshman Olivia Dickerson had seven kills in the win.
Junior Olivia Ramey had a team-high 18 assists to lead the Lady Trojans’ ball-handling while sophomore Katie Born had 14.
“Maddie Perry is leading the team, she is just on fire,” Ankrom said. “Kennedy Bowling’s been killing it at the net for us, and a surprise everyone’s going to notice is Olivia Dickerson — she’s a freshman this year. My rotation keeps changing because I am seeing that growth and seeing people step up. It’s hard because I need people for JV, but those JV players are stepping up and we’re trying to utilize them as much as we can for the varsity games. We’re getting in a groove with our rotation, but it’s completely different from when we first started.”
Following its second win of the season, Portsmouth will travel to Chesapeake on Thursday in OVC play — before hosting Northwest on Saturday in non-league play.
With a youthful roster, and a team full of energy after a cancelled spring sports season due to the coronavirus, the Lady Trojans are hopeful their confidence and consistency gained in Tuesday’s win over South Point will carry on the rest of this season — and even next.
“We’ve been super excited to be able play,” Ankrom said. “We’re so talented and not having any seniors, we’re going to have another great team coming back next year.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved