Clackamas deals the Pacers their very first loss of the 2013 volleyball season

by: ADAM WICKHAM - Clackamas volleyballers celebrate a point during a match held at Clackamas earlier this season. The Cavaliers had a lot to celebrate last week, after defeating Lakeridge in four hard fought games. It was the first loss of the season for the Pacers and the Cavalier win left Clackamas and Lakeridge tied for first place in the Three Rivers League.The Clackamas Cavaliers last week upped their stock in Oregon Class 6A high school volleyball, knocking off No. 2-ranked Lakeridge in four games, 25-19, 27-25, 22-25, 25-22.

The win not only avenged an earlier loss to Lakeridge, but it was the first loss off the season for the Pacers in 16 matches this fall.

With the win and an Oct. 1 win over West Linn, the Cavaliers improved to 5-1 in the Three Rivers League, leaving them tied with Lakeridge (5-1) in first place in the TRL standings.

“It was awesome to beat them — for two reasons,” said Clackamas team co-captain Bailey Bremer. “They really outplayed us the first time, so it showed we’ve improved a lot. And it was huge, because we knew we had to beat them to have a chance to be league champs or league co-champs.”

“I can’t describe how exciting it was [to beat Lakeridge],” said Clackamas co-captain Shelby Torgerson. “One of our goals this season was to be first in league, and now we have a chance to be league champions, or at least co-champions. It was a really, really exciting match. I’m just happy we won.”

“It was our best passing match of the year,” said Clackamas coach Jim Stultz. “Last time we played them we were out of system most of the match, so we couldn’t run our offense.”

The Cavalier volley boss singled out senior Tara Deaver-Noblisse: “Tara passed 24 three passes [perfect passes] tonight. Her passing average was 2.67, which is amazing! She was a big factor in the win. She kept us in system.”

Stultz said that his entire team has improved in their passing.

“A month ago I told the kids that if we worked really hard on our passing and improved one percent each day, by the end of the season we’d be pretty good,” Stultz said. “And we’re getting there.”

Cavalier senior standout Taylor Agost headed up the Cavalier offense, with 28 kills, including the game-winner.

But it was truly a team effort.

“Cassidy Scott hit .571, her best performance of the season,” said Stultz. “Lauren O’Brien hit .433, with 15 kills.”

Junior Jensen Perrick served 93 percent, with four ace serves; junior setter Marissa Rhodes had 49 assists.

“Lakeridge has some really good servers,” Stultz said. “But with the way we were passing, their serves looked like they were nothing special. They only had four aces on us....

“Just an awesome match for us!”

The win moved Clackamas up from 12th to 10th in the OSAA RPI rankings. Lakeridge slipped from second to fifth.

Stultz noted that through play last Thursday his Cavaliers’ only losses this season had come at the hands of top-ranked Central Catholic (twice), fourth-ranked Jesuit (twice), Lakeridge, a top team from Washington, and West Albany, “which beat both Central Catholic and Jesuit.”

“I’m looking forward to the West Linn Tournament [on Oct. 19],” Stultz said. “We could meet Central Catholic or Jesuit there. I’d like to play them again, and see how we do. It’s not like we didn’t compete with them the last time we played them....”

“I do think it will be very different [the next time we play Jesuit and Central Catholic],” Bremer said. “We’ve nailed down our rotations better, and now everyone knows their roles....

“If everyone comes ready to play, I think we could beat them.”

Clackamas returns to TRL action next Tuesday, battling Lake Oswego (3-3) on the road.

The Cavaliers dispatched with West Linn, winning in four hard-fought games — 25-17, 18-25, 25-21 and 25-22 — in an Oct. 1 match at West Linn.

Agost had a big night, putting the ball to the floor for 27 kills and recording five service aces. The senior standout also had nine digs. She had a .400 attack percentage.

O’Brien had 13 kills; Rhodes came through with a team-high 11 digs and 33 assists.

Sophomore Emiko Kahler put the ball to the floor for three service aces.

In Class 4A volleyball, the La Salle Falcons last week proved themselves without question among the top teams in the Tri-Valley Conference, as they handled Estacada in three games, 25-10, 25-21, 25-23, after giving the Madras White Buffaloes all they could handle in a tough, tough loss, 29-27, 20-25, 25-23, 25-22.

Madras finished the first half of the league season unbeaten in the TVC, while La Salle went 4-1, losing only to Madras.

“I feel like we’re getting better each week,” said La Salle coach Liz Banta. “They’re implementing what we’ve been working on in practices in games.... We’ve been working on speeding up our offense and getting the ball moving a little quicker.”

Banta said that ball control and execution were pivotal in the three-game sweep of the Rangers.

The Falcon cause was aided by a large crowd, which made La Salle’s “Brick Oven” a hostile environment for the visiting Rangers.

“It was our cancer awareness fundraiser and youth night...,” Banta said. “The girls came out ready to play.... We only missed two serves the entire match.”

Junior outside hitter Marlie Norman headed the offense with 16 kills. Sophomore Rachel Berger had three blocks and junior Allison Burns came through with three ace serves.

Junior setters Amanda Summers (21 assists) and Lauren Danna (13 assists) were in form.

Senior Gaby Timmen and junior Meghan Studdard combined for 26 digs.

Banta said that an off-night of blocking proved costly at Madras.

“They have two really good hitters and our blocking struggled most of the night,” she said.

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