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Rivals live up to the hype in a five-set thriller

6A VOLLEYBALL - Barlow gets on a run in the fifth set to take the decisive game 15-9
by: David Ball Barlow hitter Margaret Paul celebrates a Bruins point during the team's five-set win over Gresham on Saturday.

After splitting the first four sets, East County rivals Gresham and Barlow found themselves locked into a race to 15 points to decide which powerhouse program would reach this year's 6A tournament and which would be sent home.

Playing in front of a packed house, #7 Barlow ended much of the suspense with an 8-2 scoring spurt that gave the Bruins a series of match points. Senior setter Becky Sheller highlighted the rally with a quick tip shot that fell between three diving Gophers on the other side.

Gresham's Haley Crouser pounded out a pair of kills to extend play, but the hill was too much to climb. Barlow ended the match when Sheller set the ball back toward the 10-foot line, and Meg Marlett rose high into the air and hit a winner through the middle.

Barlow won the fifth set by a 15-9 count.

The Bruins will face #2 Clackamas in the 6A quarterfinals at 10 a.m. Friday, at Liberty High School in Hillsboro.

• At the 3A level, Corbett advanced with a three-set sweep over Sheridan. The #1 Cardinals take on #9 Santiam Christian at 1:15 p.m. Friday at the 3A tournament in Eugene.

Look for extended coverage of the Barlow-Gresham match, along with a state tournament preview in the Nov. 9, edition of The Outlook.