The Gaston Greyhounds showed why they are in first place in Northwest League volleyball Thursday night, with a three-game sweep at Knappa, 25-17, 25-14, 25-18.

Gaston senior middle blocker Mackenzie Berger was a force at the net, using her 6-foot-3 frame to put away several kill attempts, and her height to make it tough on the Knappa hitters.

The Loggers scored the first point in all three sets, but the Greyhounds rallied to build sizable leads in at least the first two sets.

Berger’s kill off a block and a tap over the net by teammate Lexi Fern helped Gaston to a 19-11 lead in Game 1, and a big serving run by Berger led to a 15-4 lead in Game 2.

Knappa’s best effort came in the third set, when the Loggers jumped out to a 4-0 advantage.

Gaston fought back to tie the set several times, but Knappa maintained leads thanks to kill from Hannah Dietrichs.

An attack by Dietrichs had Knappa ahead 17-16, but that would be the Loggers’ last lead of the night, as a big serving run from Maya Rosenberg resulted in eight straight points for the Greyhounds.

Ranked second at the 2A level, Gaston improved to 7-0 in league. Knappa dropped to 5-4 overall, with a match Saturday at Neah-Kah-Nie.

Knappa coach Jeff Kaul said the team “knew going in this was going to be a tough game, going up against this undefeated team led by 6-3 senior MacKenzie Berger, but they were ready to go and looking forward to the challenge.

“When going up against a big hitter like (Berger), all you can really do is try to put a couple of hands in their face at the net and try to guess the best you can, where they are going to hit and then get down and wait.

“When that player can also aim their hits pretty well, it makes it really hard to defend, but I thought we did fairly good minimizing her hits tonight.”

Knappa freshman Lily Simpson was able to record eight blocks for the Loggers, while teammate Carlie Casper had 12 digs. Dietrichs finished with a season-high 11 kills.

Gary Henley is a sports reporter for The Astorian. Contact him at 503-861-8493 or ghenley@dailyastorian.com.