The No. 2 Pacers win the Civil War, Lake Oswego avoids play-in match

by: VERN UYETAKE - Lakeridge's Malia Scott, Maddie Marshall and Kacie Van Stiphout go up for a block during last week's match against Lake Oswego. Lakeridge finished off a sweep of the Civil War volleyball series last week but it didn't come easy. The Pacers stayed tied atop the Three Rivers League with a hard-fought 26-24, 23-25, 25-22, 25-14 win over a Lake Oswego squad that is playing some of its best volleyball as the regular season comes to a close.

Playing at home, Lake Oswego set the tone of the match early, capitalizing on some Lakeridge errors to build an 8-3 lead.

The Pacers were slow out of the blocks and the Lakers took a commanding lead, feeding Taylor Beckman on the front line. The Lakers also received strong defense from Brooke Proffitt in the opening set and, after back-to-back kills from Beckman, led 22-12.

Lakeridge rattled off three straight points to cut into the lead before a tip by Kendall Brock made it 23-15.

Still, Lakeridge didn't give up and Malia Scott went back to serve. Scott recorded a service winner and Saskia McNairy tallied a block and two kills in a six-point run to make it 23-21.

But Beckman came up with another big kill to bring the Lakers to within match point.

Kacie Van Stiphout recorded a kill to give the Pacers a side-out and then came up with an ace. Samantha Howley then tallied a crucial kill to tie the score at 24-24. Lakeridge continued its run and went up 25-24 before McNairy came up with a stuff following another strong serve by Van Stiphout to seal the remarkable comeback in the opening game.

“That was unbelievable. I told the girls we may have played some of our worst volleyball and some of our best volleyball of the season all in that one game,” coach Wendy Stammer said.

The Lakers could have been forgiven had the wind left their sails following that tough start to the match.

However, Lake Oswego opened the second set the same way it opened the first. Beckman scored two more kills and Brock had a service winner to make it 4-1.

Lakeridge rallied to take a 10-7 lead behind more strong serving from Van Stiphout but Lake Oswego caught up quickly.

The Lakers won seven of eight points midway through the set to go up 21-17, getting a pair of kills and an ace from Beckman.

However, leading 23-19, Lakeridge rattled off three straight points and threatened to pull off another rally.

The teams then traded points before Beckman slammed home the decisive kill that knotted the match.

“We were nervous in the match but I think the earlier loss to Clackamas helped us. After we lost that match the girls said they felt a sense of relief just to have that first loss under their belt,” Stammer said.

The third game was equally close. Lake Oswego received strong play from Brock to take a slim 12-10 lead but Lakeridge did well to stave off any long runs.

The Lakers and Pacers traded side-outs late and Lakeridge got a big boost from Maddie Marshall at the net.

Marshall recorded kills on two of Lakeridge's last three points as the Pacers took a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth game, a tip and an ace by Brock helped the Lakers take another slim early lead but Lakeridge would start to take control.

McKenna Moore, Emily Scott and Van Stiphout would each record aces and, after back to back service winners by Malia Scott, Lakeridge had won nine of 11 points to clinch the win.

The Pacers followed that victory up with a three-set sweep of Canby to close out the regular season. With that win, Lakeridge clinched a share of the Three Rivers League with Clackamas, a feat that may be a first for the program.

“I wouldn't say the girls have exceeded expectations but it's been an amazing season. The goal, first and foremost, was to win the league title,” Stammer said.

Over the weekend, the Pacers played well at the West Linn Invitational, advancing out of pool play to face No. 1 Central Catholic for the first time this year.

The Rams won 25-12, 25-15, handing the Pacers just their second loss all season, but Stammer believes it will help the team as it enters the playoffs.

“We weren't prepared for the speed of their offense so I have to make practices more competitive and I know the kids will push each other,” Stammer said.

Lake Oswego knocked off Oregon City in four sets on Tuesday and finished third in the TRL, earning a first-round bye in the postseason.

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