The tournament opens Thursday with the title match set for 3 p.m. Sunday

by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Mt. Hood teammates Keely Siegel and Lihau Perreira celebrate a point during a match last week.The Mt. Hood CC volleyball team is on a roll heading into this week’s Northwest championship tournament. The Saints are riding a 22-match win streak, being pushed beyond three sets only twice during that stretch. Mt. Hood has finished the South Region unblemished and won tournament titles at its own Dorian Harris Classic and also at the Green River Crossover.

“It’s not really something we talk about, so we don’t feel the pressure of it at all,” Mt. Hood coach Chelsie Speer said.

The Saints earned a four-set win over Olympic at the Dorian Harris event — the only regular-season meeting between the top two contenders.

Without facing many challenges on the court over the past month, the Saints have ratcheted up the intensity in practice leading up to the playoffs with numerous one-on-one battles. Win the drill and celebrate with teammates, lose the drill and you’re running lines.

“We step it up to create some pressure situations in practice, putting them out there in drills with the whole team watching,” Speer said.

The Saints open the tournament at 9 a.m. Thursday against Everett (6-19), the fourth-place team out of the North and the team with the worst record in the field.

Mt. Hood is on track to face a much more difficult test in the second round, likely against a Spokane team that pushed the Saints to five sets the last time the teams met.

“We’re getting great leadership out of our sophomores and not needing to do a lot of coaching on the sideline, which is where you want to be heading into the tournament,” Mt. Hood CC coach Chelsie Speer said.

The championship match is set for 3 p.m. Sunday.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for military, students and seniors, while ages 12-and-under are free. A four-day tournament pass is also available for $30.

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