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La Grandeís Cassidy Crites goes up for a kill during the Lady Tigersí sweep over McLoughlin Thursday. (Casey Kellas/The Observer)
It’s been nine years since the La Grande volleyball team lost a set to McLoughlin. Things were no different Thursday night in a non-league match, as the Lady Tigers picked up another sweep of the Pioneers 25-8, 25-8, 25-11.
The win improves La Grande to 11-1 overall, and the Lady Tigers remain 2-0 in the Greater Oregon League. McLoughlin is 0-12 overall and 0-2 in the GOL.
“We served really tough,” LHS head coach Melinda Becker-Bisenius said. “We’ve really been focusing on that a lot. Good transition off the net. I was real pleased with how we performed tonight.”
Cassidy Crites missed the opening serve of the match to put the Lady Tigers in a 1-0 hole. But that would prove to be only one of two times La Grande trailed in the entire match — the other time a 3-2 deficit in the opening set.
With the first game tied at 3-all, the Lady Tigers went on a 22-5 run to take a one-game advantage.
LHS started the second set strong, grabbing a 10-1 lead. McLoughlin scored four the next five points to get as close as 11-6, but the Lady Tigers went back to work and scored 13 of 15 points to go up two games.
La Grande started the third set even quicker, going up 12-1 before the Pioneers made a little run to get the deficit to 12-6. But again LHS was strong in the second half of the set, scoring 13 of 18 points to pick up the sweep.
“Our girls are hungry to win the league title again,” Becker-Bisenius said. “Every night, they know whoever we play, we’ve got a target on our back and people are going to want to beat us. So, we have to play tough.”
Shania Holpuch had six serving aces for LHS, while Avery Albrecht finished with four. Hanna Chashell added five kills, and Cassandra Brownell had four kills.
Anna Grigsby chipped in with four kills and two solo blocks, and Kendall Kirkland had 11 assists and seven digs. Kali Avila and Brandy Blackman both added seven digs.
La Grande will be back in action Tuesday when it hosts Baker at 5 p.m. in a GOL contest.
The match is La Grande’s “Pink Game,” and the Lady Tigers will be raising money for Verda Lilly, who is battling cancer.
“We’re real excited to have people come out and raise some money,” Becker-Bisenius said.