In their first home conference match in front of over 500 fans, the Portland Pilots’ 12-0 record was snapped with a 3-0 loss to the Pepperdine Waves.
In an energetic first set, the Pilots fell to the Waves, 25-22. The team didn’t come out with their full strength and began the match with tentative hits.
“I think it was both nerves and pressure,” sophomore libero Carey Williams said of the loss. “We just had to overcome it and be more confident, and that’s what we’re trying to work on more.”
Pepperdine was unable to get passes up when Portland hitters found the “campfire,” the spot on the court right behind the 10-foot line. Junior middle blocker Shayla Hoeft was successful with her slide hits and blocks and adjusted against the strong blocking Waves.
“Honestly, just looking for hands is the biggest thing,” Hoeft said. “Trying to tool off a big block is how you get kills and just trying to use their hands.”
The Waves won the second set, 25-22. Portland came out hard, but when they lost possession, Pepperdine went on a run. They were unable to capitalize on side-outs and the team was visibly frustrated.
“Our frustration was just in executing and taking it play-by-play instead of looking into the future,” Williams said.
The Pilots lost the third set, 25-19. The team fought hard with scrappiness and creative emergency plays until the end, but ultimately were defeated by their errors.
“We didn't take care of our side,” Hoeft said. “It was basically our ability to be in the moment and keep the energy on the court and on our side.”
The Pilot’s next game is on Saturday, Sept. 22 at noon against Loyola Marymount University.