Portville Rolls To Sweep In Division 1 West Showdown
The Southwestern Trojans and Portville Panthers both had near perfect starts to the league season coming into Tuesday’s Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Athletic Association Division 1 West volleyball contest.
Through the first six league games Portville was a perfect 6-0 and had not lost a set, while Southwestern matched the undefeated mark and lost just one set. For Southwestern, the start to the season has been a step in the right direction, but for the defending New York State Class C champion Portville it’s just the norm.
On Tuesday, Portville showed its championship pedigree with a dominant sweep of the Trojans 25-7, 25-16, 25-12.
In the first set, it was evident there were some nerves among the Southwestern (8-2, 6-1) players as they looked a bit overwhelmed and saw Portville (8-0, 7-0) score the first seven points of the night, which was followed up with another six-point run to build an early 13-2 hole for the Trojans.
“I think we could see it that first set more than anything,” Southwestern head coach Alexis Terrette said about the nerves. “The first set they were definitely nervous. There was a lot of hype around Portville and we felt it in the beginning.”
Southwestern only scored consecutive points once in the opening set as Portville controlled the game and most points came off the few Portville mistakes.
After a first set where almost nothing went right, Southwestern seemed to settle in for the second set. While the Trojans didn’t sniff the lead in the first set, the second saw them jump out to a lead and go toe to toe with the Panthers.
“I think in the second set they realized that Portville’s great, but we’re great too,” Terrette said about the more confident play in the second set. “The score didn’t quite show it, but they definitely showed up that second game.”
Despite the more confident play, Portville still continued to roll as it would not give up easy points even with the more consistent ball movement from the Trojans. On the other side, Southwestern limited Portville’s longest run to four points at two different times. Those four point runs came after even play at 7-7 and allowed the Panthers to pull away at 11-7 then 16-10 en route to a 25-16 win.
Whatever confidence was built in the second set by Southwestern seemed to vanish by the third set as Portville jumped out to an early 10-2 lead which led to a Trojans’ timeout. Portville almost kept Southwestern from scoring consecutive points in the final set, until the last two points the Trojans secured before falling 25-12.
“The last set was hard,” Terrette added. “We had two girls that went out with injuries, so it was tough to get in a rhythm and stay in it. It seemed like we were just taking points from missed serves and their errors, so it was hard to get in a solid system there.”
Leading the way for the Trojans were Lauren Cotter, who managed eight kills, seven digs and three blocks; Arrington Restivo had 10 assists, one dig, one kill and two aces; and Jaidyn Newhouse had two blocks and a kill.
Thrusting the Panthers into sole possession of first place in Division 1 West were Tori Unverdorben with 15 kills, nine digs and three aces; Ava Haynes had nine kills, four aces and eight digs; Lillian Bentley posted seven kills and four blocks; Mia Rhinehart added four aces and nine digs; and Jill Stebbins contributed 23 assists.
Southwestern will look to get back on track in league play on Thursday when it hosts Jamestown and Portville will travel to Fredonia.