Lakeridge rolls in a pair of straight set playoff wins

by: VERN UYETAKE - Malia Scott goes up for a block during Lakeridge's opening-round playoff victory against Lincoln. The Pacers won the match in straight sets.The Lakeridge volleyball team showed no signs of nerves as it opened its playoff run last week. The Pacers, ranked No. 2 in the state, scored a pair of straight sets victories to advance to the state tournament Friday and Saturday at Liberty High School.

It is the first time since 2004 that a Lakeridge team has reached the quarterfinals. The Pacers took fifth in 2004.

Lakeridge entered the season with high hopes and expectations and have done nothing to damper those to this point.

“We definitely set ourselves up well for the draw and we've played great. The girls seem like they're refreshed for what I call the second season,” coach Wendy Stammer said.

In the opening round of the playoffs Oct. 30, Lakeridge made quick work of Lincoln with a 25-12, 25-11, 25-15 victory at Lakeridge.

The Pacers were in control from the opening point and consistent as they minimized their errors and took advantage of the opportunities that the Cardinals gave them.

Lakeridge spread the offense around with good setting from Malia Scott and McKenna Moore and seized momentum with a lopsided victory in the opening set, never looking back.

The victory moved the Pacers to the brink of the state tournament and a showdown with South Salem.

The Saxons came ready to play but, again, Lakeridge stayed calm on its home court.

“South Salem gave us a really good match. I thought the girls would be nervous but they didn't show it,” Stammer said.

The Pacers got strong contributions from the entire line-up and, again, spread out the offense.

“We obviously look to get the ball to our middles as much as possible but our outsides Kacie (Van Stiphout and Sam (Howley) had some big hits,” Stammer said.

Lakeridge hit consistently and South Salem countered with strong defense from the back line but the Saxons simply couldn't match up with the Pacers' firepower.

Lakeridge rolled again in straight sets 25-19, 25-18, 25-18.

After steadily grinding out the first two sets, South Salem continued to battle with its season on the line. However, Lakeridge never gave in and never allowed the tide of the match to turn.

The Pacers now face off with a familiar opponent as they look to cap off a historic season for the program.

Lakeridge will play Clackamas at 10 a.m. on Friday. The Cavaliers split the season series with Lakeridge and the schools shared the league title this year. Clackamas is one of just two teams to beat the Pacers this season.

“We're really looking forward to playing them again. For us it's all about controlling our game and making sure we serve tough and pass well,” Stammer said.

Lakeridge has continued to up its intensity in practice and has been determined and focused as the season winds down.

With a win, the Pacers would play again in the semifinals on Friday night against either Roseburg or West Linn.

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