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Central Catholic closes in on yet another league title


The Rams sweep Barlow, remain No. 1 in the 6A rankings

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Central Catholic players converge in the center of the court to celebrate a point during Mondays home win over Barlow. Central Catholic’s volleyball team continues to roll through the regular season, all but wrapping up the Mount Hood Conference title with a sweep (25-8, 25-20, 25-17) over runner-up Barlow on Monday night.

The Rams got out to a flying start, holding Barlow to single digits in the opening game. Central took a commanding 15-7 lead after the first rotation when Whitney Turner rose high out of the middle and slammed a kill straight down on the other side.

Central extended the lead when Natalie Batiste pounded back-to-back kills after Barlow hung a pair of errant passes over the middle of the net.

The Bruins set the tempo on a rare volley late in the first set, sending three straight kill attempts into the heart of Central’s defense. The Rams chased down each one. The point ended with Central’s Kiki James hitting a clean winner down the sideline.

Central’s Kealia Rosa served seven straight points, as the gap grew to 23-7.

The Rams ended the first set when Batiste banged a kill of a Barlow block and out of play.

Central scored first-serve side outs on 7 of 8 (.875) chances in the first set.

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Central Catholic setter Camille Foster directs traffic at the net.

The Rams faced their only challenge of the night in the second set when Barlow’s Maddie Pernich served up a three-point spurt that gave the Bruins a 12-10 lead at the end of the first rotation.

The lead changed hands five times during the set before the Rams took control in the late stages. Ramey Gardner sparked the comeback with back-to-back aces, as part of a six-point service run. Central turned the tide when Vicky Gajda rose for a kill off the right side. Barlow made a diving save on the play, but the ball popped high over the middle of the net. Batiste was quick off her feet pounding the ball down before the Bruins’ defense could regroup.

Central closed out the second set when Gardner softly placed a tip shot over a Barlow block.

The Rams moved to 9-0 in the MHC and extended their league win streak to 119 matches — a run that dates back to the 2005 season. Central (16-2) remains No. 1 in the 6A power rankings, a spot the team has held most of the season.

View a photo gallery of the match at ...