Pacer netters top McNary, fall to Gresham


Lakeridge records an early sweep but the Gophers are on their game in the second round

by: VERN UYETAKE - Lakeridge's Kacie Van Stiphout digs a ball during the Pacers' second-round loss to Gresham last week.The Lakeridge volleyball team's season ended in the second round of the playoffs on Saturday when the Pacers fell to a high-powered Gresham team 25-12, 25-20, 25-17 on the road.

The experienced Gophers were hot from start of the match and never let up in earning the sweep. Gresham was ranked No. 8 in the state heading into the match and played with confidence. The Gophers jumped out to a quick lead in the opening set and never let the Pacers catch their breath while grabbing the early 1-0 lead.

Lakeridge rebounded and tried to climb back in the match early in the second set. The Pacers went up 4-2 early, getting a big block from Kacie Van Stiphout.

But Gresham steadily started to build its lead. The Gophers seemed to put the set away, taking a 24-14 lead.

But the Pacers were resilient. Lakeridge rattled off six straight points, getting two service winners from McKenna Moore in the process and forcing Gresham to call a timeout.

Gresham would win the next point to go up 2-0.

The Gophers kept the momentum going when they took an early 6-1 lead in the final set. Gresham would go up 15-8 and then ground out the final set to advance to the quarterfinals.

The Pacers advanced to the second round with a solid win over McNary last week 25-16, 25-18, 25-23.

Playing at home, Lakeridge was fired up for its first playoff match and thoroughly outplace the Celtics in the opening two sets.

The Pacers got good blocking in the middle and strong defense to take a commanding lead.

But McNary would put up a fight in the third set. The Celtics looked to steal away some momentum and possibly give Lakeridge a run for its money but the young Pacer squad was calm under pressure and secured the sweep.

Lakeridge graduates just two seniors from this year's team in Kayla Troike and Colleen Brooks. The Pacers, who were ranked in the top 10 for much of the season, figure to be extremely formidable next year and could challenge for a league title.