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Pacer volleyball team hands Clackamas its first loss

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO Members of the Lakeridge girls volleyball team celebrate moments after defeating Clackamas in five sets on Tuesday.

Once Lakeridge volleyball coach Wendy Stammer was able to convince her team that it was very talented this year and could hang with nearly anyone, the Pacers proved her right.

After a pair of difficult five-set losses to Oregon City and Lake Oswego, the team didn't hang its head. Instead Lakeridge drew from that experience and has now rattled off three straight league wins.

"I feel like those other five setters really set us up for this. That win against West Linn was certainly a confidence builder," Lakeridge coach Wendy Stammer said.

Their most recent victory came on Tuesday against Clackamas. The Cavaliers entered the game as one of the top ranked teams in the state and hadn't dropped so much as a single set to a league opponent this year.

On Tuesday, they dropped three sets.

Lakeridge got off to a terrific start, playing with more energy than Clackamas and playing nearly mistake-free volleyball.

The Pacers ground out a 25-23 win.

Lakeridge continued to play great defense and hit with efficiency at the net to take a 2-0 lead to put the Cavaliers on the brink.

But, as you might have expected, things wouldn't come easily for the Pacers again.

Clackamas righted the ship quickly, shoring up its passing and serving and made far fewer errors than it had in the first two games.

The Cavaliers breezed to a pair of 25-14, 25-17 wins in games three and four and seemed to have the Pacers reeling.

But Lakeridge remained confident and upbeat in the huddle before taking the court for the fifth and decisive set.

And the Pacers quickly seized control of the fifth game.

Malia Scott had a pair of service winners and Krissy Hengesh had two kills as Lakeridge jumped out to a 4-1 advantage.

The Pacers would go up 7-2 forcing Clackamas to call a timeout.

"We didn't play very well in the third and fourth set but I haven't seen our team come out the way they did in the fifth. It was incredible," Stammer said.

A kill by Anna Spalding made the score 9-2 and the Pacers could taste a victory.

Elizabeth Howell played terrific defense, digging a handful of hard spikes by the Cavaliers as Lakeridge eventually went up 14-5.

Clackamas mounted one more rally, scoring four straight points but the Pacers put the match away to move to 3-2 in league.

The win moves Lakeridge into a three-way tie for second place with West Linn and Lake Oswego, just one game behind Clackamas.

Lake Oswego dropped a tough five-set match to West Linn last week. The Lakers rallied from being down by two sets and held a slim lead in the fifth but couldn't hold on to it.

However, the Lakers exacted a little revenge over the weekend at the State Preview, beating West Linn in a close three-set match before falling to Central Catholic, arguably the best team in the state this year.

The Lakers kept their momentum going on Tuesday with a four-set victory over Oregon City which moved them into a tie with Lakeridge and West Linn.