Lakeridge volleyball beats Lake Oswego in 'Battle of the Lake'
The Lakeridge volleyball team may have gotten knocked back, but the Pacers definitely weren't knocked down.
Lakeridge, playing crosstown rival Lake Oswego in the second annual Battle of the Lake at Lake Oswego High School on Thursday, Oct. 6, saw the Lakers step up to take the night's first set.
But the Pacers were neither shocked nor disappointed — instead, they were awakened. And they rallied to win the night's final three sets, walking off with the 23-25, 25-22, 25-17, 25-20 victory.
"It's amazing. We took the lake," said Lakeridge sophomore outside hitter Sydney Hamlin, who had her team's second-most kills on Thursday. "We won last time so we were expecting a little bit more (of the same in the first set), but our energy was a little low. But I think the second set, we realized what we needed to do and picked it up and made changes."
"It feels so good to finally take the lake again after so many years," said junior outside hitter Niyah Coleman, who led her team in kills against LO. "And it's even better getting it a second time."
With the win — Lakeridge's second straight and third in four matches — the no. 19 Pacers improved to 6-4 in Three Rivers League play and 8-7 overall. No. 25 Lake Oswego, meanwhile, lost for the second straight time and fell to 5-5 in TRL play and 10-7 overall.
"The main difference between the sets was just communication," said Lake Oswego senior middle blocker Morghn Monahan, who led her team in kills against Lakeridge. "We came out with fight and energy, but then we just started to fall apart. In the second set, we got absolutely destroyed in serve receive that one rotation. That changed the momentum of the game and put us down for the rest of the match."
"I know that we lost (to Lake Oswego) last time, so for sure, we wanted to work on coming out with fire," added senior outside hitter Camille Myers, who had the Lakers' second-most kills. "That's one of the things (we need to be doing), always keeping the energy up."
The first set was a back-and-forth battle from start to finish that featured eight ties. Lakeridge's biggest lead was four points when Coleman made a kill off the right block, but the Lakers stormed back to lead by five on a six-point service run — including two aces — by sophomore Annika Hilton.
Tied again at 23-23 after a Hamlin kill, Lake Oswego scored the final two points on a Monahan kill from the middle and a Monahan ace to win 25-23.
"The way that first one went was definitely a good thing for us," Myers said. "I saw that we were putting down the ball very well in the first set."
The Pacers opened the second set at a dead sprint, with junior Lila Strupp serving her team to an 8-0 lead that included five aces. To their great credit, however, the Lakers didn't fold. They scored 14 of the next 22 points to cut the Lakeridge lead to 16-14 on a back-row kill by junior Casey Moran.
The Lakers got back within two points once more, at 24-22 on a Monahan kill set by junior Grace Wollmuth, before the Pacers won the set on a service error.
The third set was Lakeridge's best, with the Pacers breaking open a 12-11 game by outscoring Lake Oswego 13-6 the rest of the way. In that stretch, they got four Hamlin kills, two from Coleman and ended the set when senior Emilia Meier blocked Laker senior Emma Cory.
The Lakers kept fighting in the fourth set, rattling off four late points to tie the score 18-18 before the Pacers finally got away. Lakeridge junior Isabella Walsh got a kill from the middle, Coleman followed suit one rotation later, Hamlin connected on a free ball, Walsh scored with a block and Strupp ended the match with a crosscourt kill from the left side.
"It feels great," Hamlin said. "I think we do a really good job of focusing on how to relax and we really like taking it one ball at a time. I think we're really supportive of each other and really good at working together, putting team first and not playing as individuals, but playing as a team."
"We just kind of came out (slow), but we were ready to get into it the next couple sets," Coleman said. "We definitely weren't nervous. We knew what we could do."
For their part, the Lakers said they just needed to finish points better.
"I think it's time we work on just putting the ball down, hitting it hard," Meyers said. "Just going all out and being aggressive."
"We need to be super aggressive," Monahan agreed. "I think just going into practice with a killer mindset and the attitude of just going to destroy the ball."
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