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LO netters beat OC, Pacers and Lakers eye postseason

It seems like nearly every match has been "must-win" for playoff-hopeful volleyball teams in recent weeks. Lake Oswego's match on Tuesday against Oregon City may not have been do-or-die in terms or making the postseason but a win certainly would have gone a long way in alleviating some pressure down the stretch.

And that's what the Lakers did, recording a 25-18, 25-22, 24-26, 25-21 victory at home, its second of the year over the Pioneers.

Now Lake Oswego sits comfortably in third place in the league and, while the team hasn't clinched a postseason berth yet, it has considerably more breathing room over Oregon City and Clackamas.

The Lakers got off to a very strong start which set the tone for the evening.

"I felt that we came out with a lot of energy and determination," coach K.T. Emerson said.

Lake Oswego received strong net play across the board which frustrated Oregon City for much of the night.

Megan Mooney has been on a hot streak of late and led Lake Oswego with 12 kills on Tuesday to go along with three blocks.

The Lakers recorded a relatively easy win in the first game and that momentum carried over.

Oregon City could ill-afford to fall behind 2-0 and the second game sent back and forth with the Lakers eventually holding on and putting themselves in good shape to win the match.

But, as Lake Oswego has proven against other teams this year, a 2-0 lead isn't always safe.

With their backs against the wall, the Pioneers played their best volleyball of the night and pulled out the dramatic 26-24 third game.

Lake Oswego knew that a slow start in the fourth game could put the team in a precarious spot and so the Lakers refocused and regained control of the match.

"It was great to see the girls come together and push each other to reach towards their potential," Emerson said.

Lake Oswego's kill percentage was strong for much of the evening. Anna Gornbein had 10 kills on the night and a team-high four blocks.

Keri Nielsen came through with eight kills of her own and a block while Sarah Porter added five kills and a block.

Lake Oswego plays just two more league matches this year against Clackamas and Putnam. A win over the Cavaliers would clinch a playoff berth and the Lakers could also get help from their rivals from Lakeridge if the Pacers can knock off Oregon City or Clackamas in upcoming matches.

"As we get closer to the end of the regular season, we want to solidify a spot in the playoffs. I am very proud of the girls taking on the competition," Emerson said.

The Pacers lost in straight sets to first-place West Linn last week as the Lions continue to roll through the Three Rivers League unblemished in pursuit of a second straight state title.

Lakeridge then played in a non-league match against a strong West Salem team and fell in four games.

Lakeridge and Lake Oswego will both participate in this Saturday's West Linn Invitational that will feature many of the top teams in the state.

Games begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday. Lake Oswego will start at Oregon City High School and Lakeridge will begin pool play at Wilsonville High School.