The Portland Pilots dropped their fourth conference opener in a row, losing 3-0 to the San Diego Toreros on Thursday at the Chiles Center.
Portland battled throughout the sets but repeatedly found themselves down against the Toreros. The Pilots were able to make pushes to bring both of the first two sets within three points before San Diego pulled away and won both sets with a score of 25-18.
“Being consistent, we did things really well for 18 points,” Portland head coach Jeff Baxter said. “I don’t think we let them off the hook. San Diego is a good volleyball team and that is because they are consistently good. We saw that tonight and we can learn from that.”
Portland opens up conference play with arguably their two toughest games against San Diego and BYU, who is ranked ninth. Portland’s lineup skews young with two freshmen starting, and they’ll have to lean on junior middle backer Shayla Hoeft, who had eight kills in the loss to San Diego. Despite a rocky start, Portland remains confident.
“We cannot be timid coming out, we need to be confident that we can hang with these teams,” redshirt junior Emma Scanlan said. “We have this under our belts, we know the level of play we are going into and will be more comfortable.”
Portland will be back in action as they once again play host as BYU comes to town on Saturday Sept. 28. The first set starts at noon.
Jamison White is a sports reporter at The Beacon. He can be reached at email@example.com.