Sixth-ranked Vernonia — still with a chance of catching Portland Christian for a share of the Northwest League title — warmed up for a Saturday showdown with the Royals by beating Knappa Thursday night.

Vernonia swept Knappa for the second time this season, 25-19, 25-16, 25-14.

Knappa falls to 4-7 in league play, while Vernonia improves to 10-1, behind Portland Christian's 11-0.

Despite the loss, Knappa coach Jeff Kaul said his team “put up a great fight, and although Knappa lost the match in three games, the games were a blast to watch. I hope everyone that came tonight enjoyed them as much as I did.”

Knappa lost Ava Skipper during the second set, but Cassidy Engblom “stepped in for Ava to keep the team alive, and Amanda Hellberg got the nod to sub in for Taylin (Regier) to finish the match,” Kaul said. “Both did a great job and worked hard in their positions.”

Megan Hellberg had seven blocks and five kills, and Aiko Miller added 10 digs.

“Of course you always want Senior Night to end in a win, but I was very happy with the effort out there tonight, and even though we did not get the win I felt that every player played as hard as they could to make Aiko and Sophia (Carlson's) last home game a good one.”

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