Lake Oswego rolls after rallying in a tight first set

The West Linn volleyball team opened up league play with a stiff challenge, traveling to face a Lake Oswego team that shared the league title with the Lions last year and one that returns one of the state's top setters and a handful of its hitters.

The Lions nearly grabbed momentum in the match by stealing the opening set but a late rally but the Lakers put them in control as they cruised to a 25-23, 25-14, 25-18 victory.

The match may have gone differently had West Linn been able to close out the first set. After a back and forth start to the match, the Lions grabbed a slim lead midway through the first set.

An ace from Carmen Diaz and a nice tip at the net by Brianna Dyrdahl put West Linn up 17-16.

West Linn made a point of feeding Caitlin O'Neil both at the net and when she was on the back line and, early on, the Lions used well-placed touches at the net to keep pace with Lake Oswego.

Shawna Erickson also came up big with some key kills late in the opening game and a kill by O'Neil put the Lions up 23-21.

But the Lakers would rally. An illegal substitution cost West Linn a crucial point and a pair of terrific digs from Lake Oswego's Abby Gray helped the home team run off four unanswered points to take the opening set.

West Linn got out to a 3-0 lead in the second set but Lake Oswego rallied with six unanswered points on Gray's serve and never looked back. The Lions struggled at times with communication as the Lakers firmly took control of the match.

The Lions didn't give up after falling behind again in the third set and battled Lake Oswego evenly down the stretch but could never cut into the lead significantly as Lake Oswego pulled off the sweep.

West Linn will travel to face Lakeridge tonight (Thursday) and will play Canby next week.

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