Clackamas volleyball downs Centennial in straight sets
Clackamas' Grace Fonville had a game-high 11 kills and Jazzy Caston finished with 13 assists, pacing the Cavaliers' volleyball team to a 25-10, 25-4, 25-15 Mt. Hood Conference home win Tuesday over Centennial.
Caston added nine digs and four kills, and Kalani Hayes also had four kills as the Cavaliers (4-3, 3-0 Mt. Hood) kept pace with Central Catholic atop the league standings.
"Our goal was to play our own game," said Fonville, the Cavaliers' 6-foot-1 senior middle blocker. "We struggled a little bit at first, but then we pulled it together toward the end. That was when we picked it up and started playing at a faster pace."
Clackamas overwhelmed Centennial in every phase of the game, although the Eagles (2-3, 0-3) showed some spunk in taking a 12-9 lead midway through the third set, only to see the Cavaliers mount a 16-3 run that closed out the match.
"Overall, I'd have to say I'm pleased with the way my team finished," Eagles coach Kristy Ree said. "We're at a skills disadvantage against Clackamas. They're a very solid team. But what I'm trying to instill in my players is that you just keep competing until the end and that's all you can do."
The Cavaliers are still adjusting to first-year coach Lisa McBee, the program's third head coach in three seasons, who has been pleased with the progress she has seen through the first two weeks of the regular season.
"The girls have really pulled together as a team," said McBee, a former Clackamas assistant under both Jim Stultz and Darcy McMurray. "I love the culture that they've created this season and I really like how they're playing together, which is really terrific. It's one of the best parts about volleyball.
"Our offense and our hitters are pretty amazing, but it's backed up by a really incredible defensive team, too. We've really worked this season on modifying the defense and actually adding a little bit more offense, changing our free-ball play and adding some more options for the hitters."
The Cavaliers graduated six seniors from last season's 18-6 team that reached the second round of the 6A playoffs, but returned a solid core that features opposite Jaiden Armitage, outside hitter Isabelle Combs, libero Christin Kwon, outside hitter Jayla Parnell, and defensive specialist Kanoelani Shadron, along with Caston, Fonville, and Hayes.
"I've had some pretty high standards for these players, and they have exceeded every single one of them," McBee said. "It's exciting to watch them work together. To have these players here, it just kind of makes you want to smile and just go, 'Wow.'"
Against Centennial, the Cavaliers set the tone in the first set as they raced out to leads of 6-2, 17-4, and 23-8.
In the second set, Clackamas' Abby Norris took over the serve at 4-2 and led the Cavs on an 11-0 run that included five service aces that all but put that game away.
The third set, there were five ties and two lead changes before a Centennial service error gave Clackamas a 13-2 lead and sparked the 12-3 run that put the match away.