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Volleyball teams separate themselves in TRL

The Pacers have won six straight and both LO and Lakeridge are ranked in the top 10

MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lakeridge's block has been a big part of its recent success. The Pacers won their tournament over the weekend and have won three straight league matches to move into first place. 
The first half of the season has been volatile and unpredictable for teams in the Three Rivers League filled with upsets, dramatic comebacks and closely contested match-ups.

But some stability appears to be settling in as both Lakeridge and Lake Oswego find themselves challenging for the league title and ranked in the top-10 in the state.

The Pacers have been on a terrific run after dropping a three-set match to the Lakers, Lakeridge's only league loss to date.

Since then, Lakeridge has had a penchant for playing well late in sets, putting away a handful of close matches.

The Pacers swept Canby in three sets last Thursday but the win didn't come easily. After rolling in the opening set, the Cougars were determined to tie the match up but ultimately fell behind 2-0 with a 25-23 loss.

Canby played even better in the third set but Lakeridge's defense came up big and it won a dramatic third set 28-26.

“We've really been focusing on our blocking and they've been doing an incredible job,” coach Wendy Stammer said.

Lakeridge then put together one of its most impressive stretches of the season at its own tournament, sweeping through pool play before besting Sunset in a close finale.

The Pacers dropped the opening set 25-21 to the Apollos but then rallied to win the second by the same score.

“We hadn't seen Sunset before so it took us a minute to figure out what they were running and they're very tough,” Stammer said.

Lakeridge wrestled momentum away from the Apollos with the victory and then won the third set 15-8 to grab the championship.

“Our captains Grayson (Hennelly) and Emily (Scott) have done a really nice job keeping us under control,” Stammer said.

Freshman Addy Crawford has also been making an impact off the bench.

Meanwhile, Lake Oswego sits at 5-2, just one game behind the Pacers in the standings.

After a tough loss to Tualatin last week, the Lakers rallied for a pair of three-set victories. After grinding out a tough opening set against Tigard on Monday, the Lakers dominated the next two sets to earn the win.

Then, on Tuesday, Lake Oswego continued its solid play with a 3-0 win over Sherwood. The first two sets could have gone either way with the Lakers grinding out a pair of 25-23 wins before easily putting the Bowmen away in the third.

Lake Oswego will play at St. Mary's tonight (Thursday) before playing in the State Preview in Albany this weekend.