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Bucks clear early Casco League hurdle

St. Paul prevails over Country Christian in five sets to remain unbeaten


by: SETH GORDON - Remy Brentano sets the ball in St. Pauls 3-2 victory over Country Christian Sept. 11. Considering Country Christian has placed third in the Casco League the last few years, it came as no shock to St. Paul when the Cougars came to life after the Bucks cruised to relatively easy 25-10 and 25-16 wins in the first two set of their early-season tilt Friday at St. Paul High School.

But knowing that Country Christian was capable of playing much better and actually closing out the Cougars while they were in form proved to be two very different things, as the visitors evened the match 2-2 by taking the third and fourth 25-18 and 26-24, respectively.

Undeterred by the swing in momentum, the Bucks steadied themselves and won the fifth and deciding set 15-8 to pull out the 3-2 win and remain unbeaten on the young season.

“Country took awhile to warm up,” head coach Lesli Hiller said. “They have a few good hitters/blockers that started to play in game three.

“Country looks to be in the top three again this year so we weren’t too surprised when they started fighting for it.”

Lesli said her team also shot itself in the foot by missing on its first serve four times in a row and that each time the Cougars took advantage by scoring a couple points. In addition, the Bucks had twice as many attack errors (10) combined in the third and fourth sets than they did over the course of the first two (five).

Part of regaining control of the match in the fifth was eliminating those errors, which the Bucks (2-0 overall, 2-0 Casco League) did on both front, committing only one attack error.

Senior middle blocker Delaney Sump was dominant at the net, recording a game-high 20 kills to go along with one stuff block and two block assists and no block errors.

Sara Pierson and Emma Coleman added six kills apiece as St. Paul hit .264 as a team. Alex Coleman recorded nine aces on 26 attempts with just one error to buttress the offense, which was fueled by Kennedy Smith’s 23 assists.

Once again, the Bucks were solid at the back, as Cameron Stone finished with 12 digs and Carolina Ruvalcaba six.

Beginning with a road contest at Crosshill Christian tonight, St. Paul embarks on a much busier schedule this week, including road matches at Willamette Valley Christian, rival Perrydale and non-conference opponent Dufur on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday, respectively.