BOURBON — The Triton Trojans needed a win over Pioneer on Tuesday to keep their hopes of a Hoosier North Athletic Conference championship alive. The Trojans instead lost in straight sets to the Panthers and were forced to watch Pioneer celebrate the conference title at home.

Not much went right for Triton in the 3-0 loss. The Trojans slowly came out of the gate in the opener, allowing Pioneer to take a big advantage early on. Mistakes were common as the team passed takedowns into their own net or missed digs that saw the ball bounce off the ground.

Pioneer’s Mandee Weisenburger led the attack for the visitors, racking up wins in a rush. The Panthers’ attack was ferocious from the jump, sending casualties all over the field at high speed. For Triton, the team struggled to get on the scoreboard. Four of the team’s first eight points came from Pioneer’s serves failing to enter the net.

At the first timeout, Triton trailed 20-13. The home side attempted a short run to reduce the lead to five at 17-22, but could go no further. Pioneer would win the first set in a 25-17 wire-to-wire win.

The Triton faithful would get a more competitive start from their team in the second set. Triton would tie the game at 4-4 after going down early and trail 7-5 a few points later. Pioneer would go on a four-point run to cause Triton to time out at 11-5 and didn’t stop there. The visitors would score three more to make it 14-5 before an Addyson Viers kill.

The Panthers would go on to win the second set 25-13 and go up 2-0 without having trailed in the match.

The Trojans would take their first and only lead of the game at 3-2 in the third set. It was a much better final set for Triton as the team trailed much longer than the first two. The five-point lead for Pioneer only came 15-10.

Late in the set, trailing 18-11, Triton scored four straight to get back into the game. That wouldn’t be enough though, as Pioneer would win 25-17 to claim the set, match and conference crown.

Triton will face South Bend Career Academy on Thursday.