Portland volleyball

Coach Rob Lesemann talks to his Lady Panthers. FILE 

PORTLAND - The Portland Lady Panthers volleyball team capped off the end to their 2019 regular season with a comeback win over Mt. Juliet Thursday night. 

The Lady Panthers overcame a 2-1 deficit; winning the final two sets to come out on top three sets to two. 

“I was happy with the way we came back and the way we fought,” coach Robert Lesemann said. “They were a good team, and I knew on senior night playing a good team that there would be some pressure. And that’s exactly what we needed, a good pressure match before we go into the postseason because every match from now on is a pressure match.”

After dropping the first set 25-20, Portland was locked in a 17-17 tie late in the second, but outscored Mt. Juliet 8-1 the rest of the way to win 25-18. 

The Golden Bears returned the favor in the third set, pulling away late in a 25-23 win. 

Portland then staved off a Mt. Juliet victory by winning the fourth and fifth sets, 25-12 and 15-4 in dominating fashion.  

“We had a lot of nerves and energy at first and we were kind of overplaying our jobs and trying to do a little more than we should,” Lesemann said. “We finally calmed down and got a little bit of a groove going. The fourth and fifth sets we played very well and I was glad to see them able to get their composure and pull it out.

“It’s always good beating a big 3A school and a former district foe that we always battle with, so it’s always a good matchup,” Lesemann continued. “I hope this opens our eyes a little bit to how we need to handle things coming in.” 

The Lady Panthers will now turn their attention to the District 11-2A postseason tournament next week, which will be hosted by Portland. After finishing the season undefeated in district play, the Lady Panthers will have the number one seed and a bye in the first round. 

“Our next match is an elimination match, so we’ll come in next week and practice and understand that it’s time to restart and we can’t afford to have a bad night.”     

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