Portland claimed an epic 3-2 (25-21, 21-25, 26-24, 32-30, 17-15) victory over Beech on the hardwood Tuesday night in Hendersonville as the Lady Panthers improve to 11-2 overall and 4-1 in league play.
Beech tied the match at two sets, each following a 32-30 set four victory, and nearly clawed their way back to win the fifth and final set, but two offensive errors cost head coach Tim Carlson and his team the victory.
The five set match reminded Portland head coach Rob Lesemann of the old district 9 playing days, battling the Lady Bucs to the bitter end.
“It’s back to the way it was before we moved to Class AA; you can expect five sets every time,” he said. “I knew this would be a good match; they have a good team, made some good changes — it was a battle, fun match.”
After four ties and three lead changes, Portland jumped out to a 1-0 lead following a 25-21 first set victory.
Beech battled back in the second set, and after five ties and three lead changes, the Lady Bucs seized control of set two with a 25-21 victory.
“Beech is a good team,” Lesseman said. “There will be runs both ways, and you just try to be prepared to cut them off as soon as you can.”
Portland claimed a crazy set three victory, 26-24 after Beech found themselves up 24-21 following a back-and-forth set.
From there, Portland earned a side-out to keep the match alive, then exploded for five straight points and the set victory.
“Our girls showed they are ready for the second half of the district schedule today,” Lesemann said. “If we have this attitude the rest of the year, we will be fine.”
The two squads battled in an epic fourth set as Beech prevailed with a 32-30 victory to push the match to five sets following 13 ties and 10 lead changes.
“I thought that set would take more out of them than it did,” Lesemann said. “We started right in the fifth; we were both out of subs — it looked like backyard ball out there.”
Portland jumped out to a 9-4 lead in the final set before a Beech comeback tied the match at nine all.
Beech took its first lead at 12-11, forcing a Portland timeout. The Lady Bucs looked poised to take the victory, 14-13, but a Lady Panthers side out tied the match at 14 for the sets fifth tie.
From there, the two teams scratched and clawed until finally, the Lady Panthers won on back-to-back Beech errors.
“The biggest takeaway tonight is we can win a tight match. To come out on top in this game is a big deal,” Lesemann said.