COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL - Third trip to the finals is the charm for Mt. Hood CC volleyball team
by: David Ball Gresham graduate Kelsey Merritt tracks a ball during the weekend’s NWAACC playoffs. Mt. Hood beat Walla Walla for the title on Sunday night.

The Mt. Hood Community College volleyball team came up with a perfect performance on the biggest night of its season Sunday, sweeping five straight sets against Walla Walla to claim the Northwest championship - the school's ninth overall and its first since 2007.

'I felt calm all day. The girls were prepared and knew what they needed to do to win this,' Saints coach Chelsie Speer said. 'We pretty much left it to the girls, and I've never been more confident in a team.'

Both sides were fired up heading into the best-of-three finale, as the opening set featured a series of long rallies and neither team could build a margin larger than two points. The set was deadlocked at 15 points apiece when Demi Belshe put a ball down along the sideline just ahead of a diving Warrior.

Walla Walla appeared to have some moments of confusion in the middle stages of the set, chasing the ball to all corners and sending over numerous free balls that allowed Mt. Hood to swing away. A blast by Natalie Dwight on the right side put Mt. Hood in command 22-17....

Look for full match coverage in the Nov. 23, edition of The Outlook.

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