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The East Region champs take quick command in the fifth set, sending Mt. Hood CC into the elimination bracket.

by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Mt. Hoods Maycee Abendschein, left, and Keely Siegel put up a block on Blue Mountains Kendra DeHoog during the Timberwolves five-set victory Friday night.

The last match Friday night at the Northwest volleyball championships drew a standing room-only crowd, and the battle was worth all of the attention. The two top teams from the regular season were on display with Blue Mountain escaping with a thrilling five-set victory.

After dropping the first two games, Mt. Hood rallied to take the next two and force a final sprint to 15 points.

The decisive fifth set began with some of the longest volleys of the night, and Blue Mountain claimed each one of them to build a commanding 5-0 lead.

The toughest point to swallow for the Saints came when Maycee Abendschein drilled a kill shot down the line and turned to celebrate with her teammates.

Only one problem — the ball wasn’t down yet.

Blue Mountain played pinball in the front row to keep the ball in the air, and Kendra DeHoog chased it beyond the end line and bumped it over the net. The Timberwolves won the point several exchanges later when a Mt. Hood attack got trapped in the net.

“Getting that quick five-point advantage kept us at ease in that final game, especially when you’re only playing to 15,” Blue Mountain’s Crystal Schmidt said. “Our energy level went down a notch in the third and fourth games, but things started clicking in that last set — we got it going again.”

Mt. Hood had a chance to pull even after Tori Kemper’s tip shot landed in the center of pack of Timberwolves. Blue Mountain recovered to win five of the last seven points, ending the match when Schmidt aggressively pounded home a kill out of the middle.

Blue Mountain advances to face fellow East Region foe Spokane in Saturday’s semifinals at 1:30 p.m. The Sasquatch picked up a four-set win over Walla Walla in Friday night’s quarterfinals.

"We really don't like playing in the mornings," Schmidt said. "It's much easier when you can stay in those afternoon games."

Mt. Hood falls into the elimination bracket and will take on either Highline or Tacoma in a best-of-3 match at 11:45 a.m. Saturday. The Saints will need to win three do-or-die matches to make Sunday’s championship round.

Look for extended quarterfinal match coverage in the Friday, Nov. 23, edition of The Outlook.

View a photo gallery from Friday’s quarterfinal match at …


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