Mt. Hood takes two hard-fought sets before blowing out Clackamas in the third

by: SANDY POST: PARKER LEE - Lihau Perreira blocks a ball at the edge of the net during Mt. Hoods sweep over Clackamas on Friday night. TROUTDALE — Winning the NWAACC volleyball championship is the ultimate goal for Mt. Hood, but the Saints first had their vision narrowed on trying to claim the top spot in the South region. They can now cross that step off the list.

Mt. Hood clinched the South region title on Saturday as it routed Clackamas in a 3-0 sweep (25-22, 27-25, 25-14).

“We were definitely focused on winning the match, but winning the region was in the back of my mind,” Mt. Hood coach Chelsie Speer said. “Knowing that we could clinch if we won did give us some extra motivation.”

The Cougars were competitive for stretches in the first two sets, but Mt. Hood came up with big points and runs, seemingly out of nowhere, just when it had to. Clackamas clung to a 14-10 advantage in the opening set as the Saints struggled to find consistency, and then all at once, they found their rhythm. They got a jumpstart from Keely Siegel who executed kills on a few slide plays and the team went on a 7-1 run to take a two-point lead.

Clackamas stayed within a few points for the rest of the set, but couldn’t close the gap. The Cougars bounced back and outplayed Mt. Hood for the majority of Game 2. They came within a single point of evening the match when they went up 24-22, but Mt. Hood’s poise didn’t waver. The Saints erased two set points and took a 25-24 lead by scoring three straight points before winning the game 27-25.

“We have been in that situation multiple times this year, and they just stay composed. I’m impressed with that,” Speer said.

After letting the second game slip away, the Cougars’ outlook and attitude was shot. They were slower to digs and shakier in their attack, earning just nine kills in 32 attempts in the set. It didn’t help that Mt. Hood was locked in on the other side. The Saints really put Clackamas away by turning a 7-5 lead into a 13-5 edge with a 6-0 run.

Siegel continued to torch Clackamas in the final set on slide plays as she recorded five kills. She finished with 11 kills and just one attack error. Lihau Perreira had a match-high 16 kills, along with three blocks. Shawna Smith added 11 kills and 11 digs, while Xayna Robinson had eight kills and four blocks. Devin Saucy was nearly perfect in her efficiency hitting the ball as she posted six kills on seven attempts.

Clackamas was led by Bre Gibbons who had 13 kills and seven digs. Kiki Stonebaker had seven kills and seven digs. The Cougars fell to 29-12 (6-3) with the defeat. They close at the regular season against Linn-Benton on Wednesday with second place in the region at stake.

Mt. Hood improved to 33-6 (9-0) and has now won 21 consecutive matches. The Saints will look to make it 22 in a row as they host Chemeketa on Wednesday. They will honor their sophomores prior to the season finale.

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