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Lakeridge bests Clackamas in four sets in its league opener

The Lakeridge volleyball team continued its stellar start to the season on Tuesday, knocking off defending league champion Clackamas in four sets and moving to a perfect 12-0 on the year.

The Pacers survived a scare on Tuesday in the form of an impressive comeback by the Cavaliers but found a way to grind out a 25-16, 25-13, 23-25, 26-24 victory.

“Our passing and our serving has been so good but, in this match, I think it was our defense and serving that really won it for us,” coach Wendy Stammer said.

Things were going almost too easily for Lakeridge in the first two games as Clackamas struggled to find its footing.

The Pacers were playing strong defense and good serving allowed the team to put together big runs.

Saskia McNairy had the hot hand early, coming up with multiple kills to lead the offense.

Lakeridge put the first two games away quickly but, with its back against the wall, Clackamas hung tough in the third.

The third game was tight from start to finish and the Pacers were unable to sustain a run similar to what propelled them earlier in the match.

The Cavaliers snuck away with a 25-23 win and suddenly the momentum of the match seemed to shift.

The fourth set was equally close with Clackamas hitting more efficiently and starting to settle into a rhythm.

However, the Pacers' defense was enormous in the fourth game and helped fend Clackamas off. Emliy Scott, McKenna Moore and Kacie Van Stiphout all had huge digs to keep points alive and frustrate the Clackamas hitters.

“Clackamas has a phenomenal hitter and, for a while, she was just hitting through us like we weren't even there,” Stammer said.

Lakeridge also found success setting the ball to its outside hitters and both Van Stiphout and Mia Berard came up with key kills to keep the Pacers close.

Lakeridge fought off a game point, which would have knotted the match and given the Cavs momentum heading into the decisive fifth game.

“It was a crazy match because you could just see the momentum shifting back and forth,” Stammer said.

The Pacers then took a 25-24 lead, playing a clean final few points and closed out the impressive victory.

Lakeridge also scored a tournament win over the weekend, knocking off West Salem, St. Mary's and Southridge in the Southridge Tournament to keep its unbeaten streak alive.

The Pacers are on a roll and Stammer doesn't expect any letdown from her veteran squad.

“I'm not worried because this team has been on the other end of this where we've lost a lot of close matches and our chemistry is great,” Stammer said.

Lakeridge takes on West Linn tonight (Thursday) a team coming off an emotional five-set win over Lake Oswego on Tuesday.

“We've said all of these early matches are just to prepare us for our league, which is going to be an absolute dogfight,” Stammer said.

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