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Central clinches league with sweep

MHC VOLLEYBALL - Central Catholic comes back in all three sets to sweep Barlow
by: David Ball Central Catholic’s Raina Hembry goes up for a kill against the block of Barlow’s Kassy Tuma on Monday night.

PORTLAND - Barlow's volleyball team started well Monday night against reigning 6A champion Central Catholic, but couldn't finish off the Rams suffering a three-set sweep that locked up the league title for Central.

The Bruins held slim leads at the start of each set, building its biggest margin at 13-10 in Game 2 when Lihau Perreira came up with a kill and a block on back-to-back points.

Central called timeout to regroup, but Barlow poured on the pressure. A pair of Bruin attacks sent multiple Central players diving to the floor, setting the stage for Meg Marlett's big swing through the middle for a 15-12 Bruins lead as the game headed into its late stages.

That's when the Rams answered the challenge with Lexie Skalbeck serving out five straight points, and Raina Hembry putting up a block to put Central ahead to stay 17-16. A series of unforced errors allowed the Rams to win eight of the next 10 points and close out the set.

'We had the lead, but it got to a point where they pushed back and we didn't respond,' Barlow coach Jessie Camp said. 'You can't let that happen. We made some mistakes and they took control.'

The second set featured four lead changes.

The Bruins held only a brief lead in the third set before Abby Lewis made her first appearance in the match and served up six straight points to put the Rams in charge 14-5.

Barlow got off to a fast start in the opening game, going up 6-2 on early blocks by Kassy Tuma and Perreira. Central answered with a five-point run by Kealia Rose, and 6-foot-3 Kailee Johnson came up with blocks on three of four points to push the score to set point.

Central Catholic improves to 19-0 with the win and stays atop the 6A RPI list followed by #2 Clackamas and #3 Roseburg.