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Pacer netters outlast West Linn in five sets

The Lions rally from down 2-0 but Lakeridge holds on for important win


MATTHEW SHERMAN - Lakeridge's Grayson Hennelly tips a ball over the West Linn block during the Pacers' five-set win over the Lions on Tuesday. Lakeridge returns eight varsity players to its volleyball team this year on a big roster and is hoping that experience translates to an impressive season.

“I really like what I have on paper right now. We may run a slightly different system this year,” coach Wendy Stammer said.

The Pacers have a handful of options at the net in Deborah Brigman, a returning first-team all-league player, along with Bailey Buchanan and Grayson Hennelly.

Another integral part of the squad will be returning libero Emily Scott, one of the best at that position in the state.

“She's just an amazing ball control player,” Stammer said. Ashley Warmenhoven will be the team's setter this season, also returning after playing varsity as a freshman.

“Even with all of our returners, we're still a pretty young team,” Stammer said.

Sydney Amos is another returning starter, along with junior Summer Pearson and freshman Addy Crawford could also make a big impact.

“This is a group that I feel could be contenders. They're really supportive of each other,” Stammer said.

Lakeridge picked up a huge early victory on Tuesday, hanging on to defeat West Linn on the road 25-17, 25-20, 21-25, 17-25, 15-13 to move to 2-0 in league.

After steamrolling the Lions in the opening two sets, West Linn was able to steal momentum before the Pacers righted the ship in the nick of time to preserve the victory.

The Pacers scored the first seven points of the match, getting a pair of kills from Hennelly and two aces from Brigman.

West Linn was never in the opening set as Lakeridge built a 19-6 lead and took a 1-0 advantage in sets on a kill by Emma Slominski.

Lakeridge's momentum carried over into the second set as well as the Pacers capitalized on hitting errors and a block from Buchanan to quickly go up 7-2.

West Linn was able to stay in the set, battling back to cut the lead to 12-11 and then 14-13 before the Pacers steadily pulled away. Bridgman, Buchanan and Hennelly each had two kills down the stretch as the Pacers built a commanding 2-0 lead.

But the Lions weren't done. West Linn went up 6-1 in the second set and were playing with a lead for the first time all evening.

Lakeridge stayed closed, getting back-to-back blocks and eventually taking a 17-16 lead before West Linn scored five straight points.

The Pacers would close the game to 22-20 before the Lions put the set away. West Linn continued to shift the momentum midway through the fourth set, building a 19-14 lead and tying the match by winning the final five points.

The energy was up for both teams heading into the fifth set. Lakeridge took a 4-2 lead but promptly gave it away, then regained it at 6-5 on an ace from Reilly Santa.

Another ace from Scott put Lakeridge up 9-8 and kills from Brigman and Crawford made it 14-10.

However, West Linn scored three straight points, prompting a time-out from the Pacers. Buchanan would then knock down the decisive kill on her third attempt in the point to seal the win.

Lakeridge moved to 2-0 in league after a 3-0 sweep of Tualatin last week. The Pacers will now play a double-header at Lake Oswego tonight (Thursday) against the Lakers and Newberg.