Cougars split matches in Northwest playoffs
Clackamas opens the tournament with a four-set win over Shoreline
TROUTDALE The Clackamas Community College Cougars rolled over Shoreline to the tune of 3-1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-18, 25-10), earning an ever-important first-round win to open the NWAACC Volleyball Championship on Thursday.
Winning the first match is huge, outside hitter Bre Gibbons said. You have to win that first one to get going, and you need to get some energy to build off of in the matches after that.
Throughout the regular season, Gibbons propelled Clackamas to victory with her attack from the front row time and time again. She picked that up against Shoreline without missing a beat, but she really picked the Dolphins apart with what she did from the back row.
Gibbons flew all over the court at key points in every set to track down tips and free balls. She made tough digs look easy and kept rallies alive when Shoreline was poised to go off on scoring runs.
After the Cougars took a two-sets-to-one lead, Gibbons put the match away in the fourth set with her work from behind the service line. With Clackamas leading 6-5, Gibbons served the Cougars to 14 straight points and a 20-5 advantage. She had four aces during the run, but Shoreline didnt do much with the balls they did return. The Dolphins only managed a few accurate passes, and even fewer hard hits.
I think we were a little nervous at first, but we settled in and got more and more aggressive, Gibbons said. By that fourth set, I think we had them intimidated. They were on their heels, and we finished the job.
Shoreline came close to forcing a side-out halfway through the run when it tipped the ball over two Cougar blockers. Gibbons dove forward with her arm outstretched just in time to pancake the ball, giving Clackamas a second life.
Gibbons, who was named to the NWAACC South Region all-star team last week, was the match leader in kills with 14. She and Sierra VeraCruz each had 15 digs and four aces to lead the Cougars. Kiki Stonebraker did her part as she posted 10 kills and 14 digs.
With the win, Clackamas moved into the second round where it dropped a four-set decision to eventual-champion Blue Mountain.
The Cougars split matches in the elimination bracket,
In the elimination bracket, the Cougars swept South Region foe Chemeketa 25-11, 25-19 with Gibbons picking up nine kills and Hannah Olson adding five.
The team fell out of the tournament Saturday morning with a hard-fought 25-22, 23-25, 11-15 loss to Spokane. Gibbons led the attack with 13 kills, while Celena Maxwell had six.