The Portland volleyball team beat visiting White House Heritage 3-1 Thursday night in a matchup of two previously undefeated teams in District 11-AA.
Portland jumped out to an 11-3 lead in the first set to cruise to a 25-15 win. White House Heritage saw improved play in the second set, scoring five straight points to break a 13-13 tie that propelled them to a 25-21 win.
“In the first set, we came out and played really well,” Portland coach Robert Lesemann said. “In the second set, they looked much better and just outplayed us.
“They didn’t have many errors and forced us to have some errors. The rest of the game we got better passing on our serve receive and cleaned up some of the mistakes we made in the second set.”
The Lady Patriots failed to match the same success the rest of the game as Portland took the next two sets, 25-11 and 25-14.
“It was good to see the girls come out of their slump in the second set and pick their game up,” Lesemann said. “You never want to see the slump to start with, but Heritage had a lot to do with that. But to come out with a positive attitude after that, that’s always important.”
White House Heritage coach Brandon Niblock said he knew his team was in for a challenge. The Lady Panthers won the Class AA state volleyball tournament in 2017 and 2018.
“We knew how tough this was going to be,” Niblock said. “This is the third year in a row that we’ve walked in 4-0 in the district to play Portland. My girls get it. They know what Portland is and they don’t have any illusions of what they’re capable of.
“Overall, I think we were on a roller coaster, and we could have managed it a little differently mindset-wise, but individually, I think my girls played well.”
White House Heritage will look to rebound at Harpeth on Monday. Portland traveled to Pigeon Forge Friday for the Rocky Top Classic, a tournament featuring over 50 teams from several states.
“We’ll be playing a team from North Carolina (and) a team from Kentucky, as well as two Tennessee teams in our league,” Lesemann said. “We won this tournament two years ago and got beat in the semifinals last year. This is a pretty big tournament, so it should be a great test for our team.”