GRANVILLE - The Putnam County volleyball team entered Thursday's match with a high level of motivation. It was the final home match of the season and the final home match ever for the team's seven seniors.

Putnam County's level of execution failed to match the level of motivation.

Midland beat Putnam County 25-12, 25-14 in Tri-County Conference action Thursday.

"I don't know. It's frustrating," said Putnam County head coach Debbie Shevokas of her team's performance.

A big area of difficulty Thursday was hitting. Putnam County committed 12 hitting errors - seven in game one and five in game two. Those hitting errors were compounded by four service errors in game one.

Shevokas was not pleased with the team's serve-receive either.

"We had issues with serve-receive, and we practice that every practice," Shevokas said. "We'll keep working on it."

Putnam County fell behind quickly in game one and never recovered. Midland twice scored five consecutive points, and the Timberwolves had a 5-0 lead and 10-1 lead to start the match.

Midland's biggest lead in the first game was 20-5 on the way to winning 25-12.

Putnam County went the entire first game without a kill, and four service points by Brittany Griffin were the Lady Panthers' only service points in game one.

Shevokas expected a change in her team's play for game two.

"I told them that I wanted to be attacking at the net," Shevokas said recalling her speech between games. "We got to be attacking because that is the only way we are going to do it. I told them to go down the lines, and they did that. We went down the lines, and we got our kills."

The kills would come, but first, Putnam County got some service points.

Putnam County junior Christine Mattern served to start game two, and she built a 3-0 Putnam County lead, which included one ace.

Midland scored to make the score 3-1, but Putnam County followed with two more points for a 5-1 lead, which proved to be Putnam County's biggest lead of the match.

The Lady Panthers' kept the match close even as Midland got back into the match.

Game two was tied seven times at 5-5, 6-6, 8-8, 9-9, 10-10, 11-11 and 12-12. Putnam County's first kill of the match came from junior Jessica Leimbach to force the 8-8 tie.

Leimbach finished with a team-high two kills.

"Jessica Leimbach kept trying to go down the line and did some back-row attacks," Shevokas said. "She just kept working and working and working and was not always successful, but she tried to get it down."

Midland pulled away after the 12-12 tie.

The Timberwolves led 14-12 then it was 17-13. Putnam County scored its last point of the match on a kill by senior Courtney Wink, which made it 17-14.

Midland then scored eight consecutive points to win game two 25-14.

The loss drops Putnam County to 3-18 overall and 2-6 in the Tri-County.

"We are looking forward to the Tri-County Tournament starting next week," Shevokas said. "Maybe the only advantage is now they all think they can beat us, and we will get stuff put together and surprise them."

Notes: Mattern and senior Jessica Baker led Putnam County's varsity with two assists each Thursday. … Putnam County won both the junior varsity match and the freshman match Thursday. Putnam County's freshman won 25-20, 25-9. The Putnam County junior varsity won 25-23, 26-28, 25-16.

Erik Hall can be reached at 223-3200, ext. 195, or at sports@newstrib.com.

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