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Roseburg knocks off reigning champs in 6A semifinals


Central Catholic scores a quarterfinal sweep over league rival Gresham.

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Kailee Johnson pounded out a team-best 13 kills during the Rams three-set sweep over Gresham in the quarterfinals.

HILLSBORO — Central Catholic saw its quest for a record-tying fourth straight big-school state volleyball title come up short Friday night with a five-set loss to Roseburg in the 6A semifinals. The Indians took the decisive fifth set by a tight 15-13 count, leaving Central to play for the third-place trophy at 2:15 p.m. Saturday against Clackamas. The title match features Roseburg and Jesuit at 8:30 p.m.

The Rams opened the day with a three-set sweep over Mount Hood Conference rival Gresham, erasing an early four-point deficit by finishing the first set on a 19-3 run. Kealia Rosa highlighted the comeback by serving a nine-point spurt that saw Monica Gajda blast a kill off a Gresham block and pump her arm in celebration.

Central even turned mistakes into points, highlighted when two players collided in the center of the court and the ball squirted wildly toward the sideline. It ended up in the path of Gajda, who pounded a kill from the 10-foot line that deflected off two Gophers before carrying out the back of the court.

Gajda forced a late sideout with an attack out of the back row, then stepped to the service line and pounded out the final four points of the set.

“We knew if we could break down their serve-receive we’d have an advantage,” Central coach Rick Lorenz said. “Gresham battled hard, but we knew if we could get them out of their system we would be successful.”

The Rams carried the momentum into the second set where Lexie Skalbeck opened with a six-point run. Gresham rallied to tie the score on a kill by Haley Crouser midway through the set, but once again the Rams responded to the challenge.

Kailee Johnson took command of the net, as Central ended the set on a 14-7 run.

The Rams were unchallenged in the final set, closing out the match by doubling up the Gophers 25-12.

Johnson led Central with 13 kills and five blocks, while Gajda finished with 10 kills and Raina Hembry had nine.

View a photo gallery of Central quarterfinal match at …