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The Pacers stay hot, fight their way near the top of the 2017 TRL league standings

TIMES PHOTO: DAN BROOD - Lakeridge sophomore Holland Jackson hits a shot past Tualatin freshman Kylie Zralka during their Sept. 7 match at Tualatin High School.The Lakeridge High School volleyball team certainly had some shining moments.

So did Tualatin.

But, when it came down to big points, and momentum-gaining runs, it was the Pacers who were able to step up.

Lakeridge, fighting off Timberwolf rally attempts throughout the contest, came away with a 25-15, 25-21, 25-21 victory in a Three Rivers League match played Sept. 7 at Tualatin High School.

"We had kind of a slow start," Lakeridge senior middle blocker Deborah Brigman said after the match. "But we picked it up. We have the ability to pump each other up."

"Our coaches told us that we needed to pick it up," Pacer senior Reilly Santa added. "We had better energy."

With the win, Lakeridge moved to 2-1 in TRL contests, putting the Pacers in a tie with Lake Oswego for third place in the league standings.

"We have a completely new group of girls this year," Brigman said. "But we're meshing really well. It's really cool."

"We're having a lot of fun," Santa said. "The coaches are making it fun."

Tualatin moved to 1-2 in TRL matches with the loss, putting the Wolves in a tie with St. Mary's Academy for sixth place in the league standings.

"We weren't at our best," Tualatin senior opposite Rylan Sornson said. "But we definitely had some good moments. We have potential."

"We didn't start strong. We came inward on ourselves," Tualatin sophomore setter Jackie Phillips said. "But we'll come together."

The Pacers got off to a fast start in Thursday's match. With junior Madelyn Askew serving, and with Santa scoring on both a kill and a tip, Lakeridge jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the opening set. The Pacers would go on to take an 8-1 advantage following an ace serve by sophomore Holland Jackson.

But the Timberwolves came fighting back — in a big way.

Tualatin senior Emily Friesen served four straight points, with Sornson having a block during the run. The Wolves would rally to tie the set at 9-9 on a point on serve by sophomore Olivia Ashley. Tualatin would then take its first lead of the night, at 10-9, on an ace by Ashley.

But that seemed to fire up Lakeridge. With Tualatin leading 11-10, the Pacers went on a 4-0 run, which included both a kill and a block by junior Addison Crawford.

Leading 16-13, the Pacers went on another run. With Askew serving, Lakeridge quickly pushed the margin to 21-13. From there, an ace by Jackson and a kill by senior Ashley Warmenhoven helped the Pacers close out a 25-15 first-set win.

Tualatin seemed determined to answer back in the second set. Ace serves by Friesen and Ashley, and a tip by Phillips helped the Timberwolves jump out to a 7-3 lead. A kill by Friesen, off a Phillips set, gave Tualatin an 11-5 lead.

But that's when the Pacers started fighting back. A sideout kill by Brigman, followed by an ace serve by junior Chloe Gates and a tip by Jackson tied the set at 15-15.

The score was at 16-16 when the Pacers went on a 3-0 run behind the serving of junior Hannah Barry, and Lakeridge would hold the lead the remainder of the set. Kills by Jackson, Santa and Brigman helped the Pacers wrap up the 25-21 second-set victory.

Lakeridge seemed to carry that momentum into the third set. Kills by Brigman and Crawford helped the Pacers claim a 10-5 lead.

Then, with sophomore Maicy Wear serving, Lakeridge went on a 4-0 run to up its lead to 16-8.

But, the determined Wolves came battling back again. A kill by freshman Kaylie Zralka and a point on serve by Sornson would help Tualatin trim the margin to 19-14.

However, Lakeridge wouldn't be denied. With Brigman serving, the Pacers scored the final five points of the match. A kill by Jackson gave Lakeridge a 25-14 third-set win, and the match.

"Our offense was strong," Santa said.

"We did all of the things well at times," Brigman said. "And not so well at other times."

Tualatin is looking to keep building off the early-season contest.

"We have a ton of potential," Tualatin coach Bridget Hinrichs said. "But we haven't played to our potential against St. Mary's and Lakeridge, and Lakeridge is always a strong team."

"Talking is big for us," Sornson said.

"Trusting each other will get us going," Phillips said.

On Monday, Tualatin fell 25-22, 22-25, 25-16, 25-20 at home to West Linn in a Three Rivers League match.

The Wolves will be back in action today (Thursday), when they travel to Canby for a 6:30 p.m. league contest. On Saturday, Tualatin will host a tournament. The Wolves will then return to league play on Wednesday, when they host Tigard at 6:30 p.m.

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