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Mt. Hood clinches the South Region title with sweep over Clackamas

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Mt. Hoods Tori Kemper puts a serve-receive into the air during Fridays three-set win over Clackamas.

OREGON CITY — The Mt. Hood CC volleyball team stretched its win streak to 11 matches Friday night with a 25-23, 25-18, 25-11 sweep over rival Clackamas.

The Saints climbed out of a three-point hole late in the first set to set the tone for the win. Kylie Kitzmiller brought the Saints within striking distance with a powerful kill that went straight down on the other side. She also converted set point when the Cougars floated a pass over the middle of the net, and Kitzmiller was the first player off her feet to tip a winner over a pair of Clackamas blockers.

“We didn’t want to come out here and make it a struggle, so getting that first one was important” Kitzmiller said. “We really stuck together as a team. We never gave up on a ball, and we never gave up on each other.”

Barlow High graduate Lihau Perreira served out the last four points — the longest spurt by either side in the first set.

The Cougars built an early lead in the second set, only to see Mt. Hood rush back to tie the score 10-10 when Maycee Abendschein put up a block that carried over two rows of Clackamas players and fell near the end line.

Kitzmiller dropped a tip shot into the Cougars’ front row to put the Saints in command 23-17, and Tori Kemper squeezed a kill through the hands of a Clackamas blocker to convert set point.

The final set was no contest, as the Saints gained command at net with Kemper slamming home a series of kills and Abendschein scoring a pair of blocks to a 16-8 lead.

“Our blocks is something we’ve been drilling in practice a lot, so it was good to see the girls rise to the challenge tonight,” Saints’ coach Chelsie Speer said. “It’s hard to hit with confidence when you keep getting blocked — it mentally shuts down the opponent.”

Mt. Hood libero Kelsey Merritt got into the action when she sent herself flying across the back row in a Superman pose left arm fully extended to pop a ball up. The save turned into a point on the team’s next attack when Charlene Manning buried a kill through the middle for a 22-11 lead.

Kemper led the Saints with 15 kills, while Perreira had nine. Kitzmiller finished with seven kills and a team-best five blocks.

Mt. Hood (28-9) can finish a perfect run through the South Region with a win at Chemeketa on Wednesday — the final tune-up before defending their Northwest title.

“You get to NWAACCs and it’s 0-0 for everyone,” Speer said. “You never get too comfortable, but I’m definitely confident in the team that we have.”

View a photo gallery of Friday’s match at daveball.exposuremanager.com.

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