Top spikers go head-to-head

Prep Watch

Defending Portland Interscholastic League volleyball champion Lincoln High meets the likely top contender when it goes to Grant on Tuesday night.

Lincoln ran the table last season, and Grant's only two losses were to the Cardinals.

This year, the two appear to be the best of the new PIL 6A. The league's five teams will play a double round-robin, with Grant visiting Lincoln on Oct. 19.

The Cardinals are going forward despite the loss of a top player, junior outside hitter Claire Scott. She tore the anterior cruciate ligament in a knee in a preseason match against Jesuit and is out for the year. 'She went up to spike a ball, came down, torqued her knee and collapsed in a heap,' coach Andre Lennox says.

Freshman Laura von Schlegell and sophomore Melissa Berry are getting more time now, and freshman Beth Smilkstein sees action, too.

Senior middle blocker Kelly Lovett and junior setter Grace Haessler are keys for Lincoln, with senior Katy Heasty also in the middle. Lovett was the PIL player of the year last season.

• Grant is working two players back into the mix after injuries. Senior Kendahl Batiste -'probably our No. 1 hitter,' coach Brick Street says -has just returned from a shoulder injury.

Senior Jazmine Kindell, also a big hitter, is on the court again after suffering a stress fracture in a foot the first day of training camp. 'She was probably in the gym for an hour or less on Aug. 14 when she got hurt,' Street says.

The Generals return most of their lineup, with senior Jessica Musgrave in the middle for Grant, senior Kim Walker as the main setter and junior Cissie Keil at outside hitter. A newcomer to the varsity, 6-2 senior Josephine Young, is Grant's tallest player. Ali Davis, a junior, is contributing as the libero.

• A key Mount Hood Conference football game takes place tonight at PGE Park, when No. 6 Barlow (4-0 overall) faces Central Catholic (2-2).

Central is without tailback-linebacker Barry Hood, who broke his ankle trying to twist his way out of a tackle in the Rams' 33-7 win over David Douglas last week. 'He's out three to six weeks in a walking cast; he won't need surgery,' coach Steve Pyne says.

The Rams were able to improve their results on the ground against the Scots. They rushed 32 times and attempted 30 passes. 'We took the onus off our quarterback to make every play,' Pyne says, 'and we were able to control the ball. Our first three drives were nine plays for 55 yards, nine plays for 47 yards and 20 plays for 90 yards. We had five people carry the football and six different guys catch it, and Jacob Haas had a pretty good night (17-of-26 passing for 227 yards and one TD, with no interceptions). 'But we had far too many penalties (12 for 105 yards).'

• Cleveland and Franklin seniors were being treated to breakfast at Country Bill's Restaurant this morning in an effort to build sportsmanship as they head into tonight's rivalry game at Franklin. The Quakers are 0-3 at the 6A level this season, with losses of 48, 34 and 46 points, while Cleveland is 2-1 in 5A, but Franklin has beaten the Warriors 12 of the past 13 years by an average of 27 1/2 points.

Quaker QB-safety Clark Ransom, who missed last week's game with a separated shoulder, is expected back, at least on defense.

• Portland Christian, ranked No. 1 among 2A teams, is 4-0, with all the wins over 3A schools. Tonight, the Royals go for another win over a 3A team as Vernonia comes to town.

Last week's 50-6 win over Riverdale marked the return of Charlie Antal, who had been out all season with a sore hamstring. He caught five passes from Shawn Evans for 112 yards and a touchdown, and intercepted a pass. He could take some snaps at QB against unbeaten Vernonia.

Senior Troy Hernandez ran for scores of one and 64 yards (seven carries, 140 yards total) and returned interceptions 25 and 79 yards for two more TDs.