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Ku’ulei Zalopany, right, of Mead battles for the ball against Lewis and Clark’s Emily Clary on Tuesday. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Panthers sweep nemesis Tigers

Mead runs GSL record to 5-0

The volleyball competition is always intense between Mead and Lewis and Clark, which have combined to produce eight state finalists and six championships over the past six years.

Tuesday night at LC was no exception, although the Panthers had more firepower and made fewer mistakes in a 25-22, 25-16, 25-23 Greater Spokane League sweep.

“We just have to focus better so we don’t make so many errors,” Mead coach Judy Kight said afterward. “I’m proud of the sweep, but … there is always a big but.”

The play of her rotation, notably daughter and junior middle blocker Kaely Kight, Mady Dahlstrom and the looming presence of 6-foot-5 Alexis Olgard got the better of an inspired effort by the Tigers, senior middles Janele Vogt and Claire Hoffman in particular.

It took an 11-3 finish to rally from a 19-14 deficit in an error-filled first game. Vogt served five straight points for the lead and Hoffman was tough all night blocking at the net. But Olgard scored eight points either on kills or blocks, including four points down the stretch.

Olgard had eight more points in the second game, five during a nine-point run that brought the Panthers from a 10-9 deficit to an 18-10 lead.

Off the Mead bench, Chelsey Pangborn also came up big with three late kills.

Mead (5-0 in the GSL at the halfway mark of the season) built a 12-5 lead in the third game, but a pair of five-point runs put the Tigers (4-2) in front 17-16.

The match belonged to Kaely Kight down the stretch. She had two successive kills and a block to put the Panthers up 22-18 and stuffed a kill attempt by Vogt to make it 23-20.

“Kaely was playing big,” said her mom. “I think of her more as a right side with her height and body type, but when she plays big and aggressive, she’s good. And thank goodness for Alexis. She does it all.”

Vogt twice rejected Olgard at the net and had a tip to make it 24-23 before a Tigers hit landed in the net to end the match.

“Mead is just a tough team,” LC first-year coach Heather Jackson said. “They have tough servers who gave us troubles. You can’t run your offense when you can’t pass the ball.”

Olgard finished with 14 kills, several from the back row, six blocks and a dozen digs. Vogt had 11 kills, four aces and shared LC’s blocks lead with Hoffman.

Afterward the three club teammates gathered to chat. All agreed that when Mead and LC meet, it’s the most enjoyable game of the season.

In other matches, first-place Gonzaga Prep (6-0) notched a 25-23, 24-26, 25-15, 25-23 win at Ferris (1-5). The Bullpups took advantage of Saxons errors and parlayed strong serving, with hitting by Allison Reed, setting by Sydney Weber and defense by Lizzy Zabinski. … University (5-2) moved into fourth place by beating Central Valley (3-3) 25-18, 25-18, 18-25, 25-19 at home in schools’ rivalry game. Setter Ashley Moon had 35 assists and libero Jordan Schmerer 27 digs. Shannon Guisti led CV in assists, digs and blocks. … Host Shadle Park (1-6) defeated Rogers 25-12, 25-21, 25-15. Nicole Stubbs and setter Darby Santos had career highs in kills (11) and assists (30), respectively, and Santos also added four service aces. … East Valley (3-4) beat visiting North Central (1-5) 25-21, 23-25, 25-27, 25-17, 15-8. Alyssa Dorr had 52 assists and Allie Riggin 23 kills for EV. Libero Rachel Duckett led in aces and digs for EV.