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NORTH BEND — North Eugene kept pace with Crater atop the Midwestern League volleyball standings when the Highlanders topped host North Bend 25-21, 25-16, 25-17 on Tuesday night.

The Bulldogs (4-4) were hoping to challenge North Eugene, which improved to 9-1, and had the first set tied at 20 before the Highlanders pulled away.

“They were doing a pretty good job,” North Bend coach Jessica Randle said. “My team knows how to be scrappy.”

Ultimately, the Bulldogs weren’t able to counter North Eugene’s 1-2 punch of Alexis Hobie and Sebrea Slaughter.

“We struggled to adapt to the left-handed hitter,” Randle said, referring to Slaughter. “And (Hobie) can put the ball down decisively.”

North Eugene went to Hobie early and often, even when she was in the back row, and she finished with 16 kills. Slaughter had 10 and Abby Strand, who plays outside hitter on the opposite end of the rotation from Hobie, had 13.

Meanwhile, North Bend wasn’t able to come up with enough offense. Kait Randle had six kills and Chelsea Howard five, but North Eugene libero Emily Collie came up with 26 digs on the night.

“We still need to figure out a way to put the ball down,” Jessica Randle said.

Kait Randle had 18 digs and Olivia Knutson added 14. Maya Massey had two stuff blocks.

North Bend remains fifth in the standings, but hopes to move up to fourth or get the at-large playoff berth that goes to the higher-ranked teams between the Midwestern and Mid-Willamette Leagues.

Ashland, which edged the Bulldogs in their trip to the Rogue Valley, currently is fourth at 6-3.

“I’m excited,” Jessica Randle said. “We have a few matches coming up we can hopefully take.”

North Bend visits Springfield on Thursday and hosts Eagle Point on Tuesday before a trip to Eugene to face Churchill next Thursday. The Bulldogs beat all three the first round of league play, though the Springfield and Churchill matches both went five sets.

Skyline League

HORNETS STING CRUISERS: Powers fell to visiting Camas Valley, 22-25, 25-18, 25-19, 25-22 in the first matchup between the Skyline League rivals.

Camas Valley is first in the Skyline League’s South Division. The Cruisers remained in second place.

“We played really well the first game,” Powers coach Heather Shorb said, adding that the Cruisers almost were able to overcome an injury to star Trinidy Blanton later in the match.

“They did a good job.”

Blanton finished with 25 kills for the Cruisers. Kendra Hutton had two aces.

EAGLES BEAT PIRATES: Yoncalla topped Pacific in four sets, 25-19, 14-25, 25-17, 25-19.

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Sports Editor John Gunther can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 241, or by email at john.gunther@theworldlink.com. Follow him on Twitter: @jguntherworld.

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