Volleyball team rolls over Highlanders


Crook County freshmen step up in three-set victory over Burns

After getting off to a slow start in game one, the Crook County by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Aspen Christiansen passes the ball during the Cowgirls match with the Burns Highlanders on Thursday. Christiansen had 20 digs on the night as the Cowgirls defeated the Highlanders in straight sets.Cowgirls shifted into high gear and cruised to a straight-set victory over the Burns Highlanders in Tuesday evening non-league volleyball action.

"Our freshmen were studs tonight," said Crook County Head Coach Rosie Honl. "It was 'I'm not a freshman anymore.' They made the most of their opportunities. They didn't get a lot of sets, but when they did, they put it down."

Behind the play of freshman Catherine Clemens, the Highlanders took an early 10-9 lead in the first set of the night. Behind the serving of Jennifer Roth, the Cowgirls regrouped and scored the next nine points to run out to an 18-10 lead. Roth started the scoring string with a kill, then served eight consecutive points -- including four aces. From there, the Cowgirls cruised to a 25-14 victory.

Roth finished the evening with six aces while going 16 for 17 from the service line. In addition, the freshman middle blocker added four kills in nine attempts without making an error.

Serving continued to be the difference the rest of the night as the Cowgirls rolled to a 25-17 win in set two, then cruised to a 25-15 win in the third and final set of the night.

The Cowgirls finished the night with 15 aces while hitting 70 of 77 serves as a team. Karlee Hollis went 8-10 from the service line with four aces, while Kathryn Kaonis was 7-0 with two aces, and Kayla Hamilton was 8-10 with two aces.

Freshman Aspen Christiansen, who earned her first career start at libero, was a perfect 12-12 from the service line. Christiansen was also impressive on defense, finishing with 20 digs to lead the Cowgirl defense.

Freshman setter Abby Smith led the Cowgirl offense with 28 assists, while Hamilton added 14 assists. The Cowgirls' remaining two freshmen were also effective. Laura Fraser finished with five by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Laura Fraser goes up for one of her five kills against the Burns Highlanders. Fraser is one of a group of five freshmen that are seeing significant time for the undefeated Cowgirls.kills in six attempts, while Jennifer MacCallister added two kills in four attempts.

As well as the freshmen played, it was the play of senior Hannah Troutman that kicked the Cowgirl offense into high gear. Troutman finished with 20 kills in 30 attempts with just two errors for a .600 hitting percentage. Troutman added 12 digs in the match.

Fellow senior Kathryn Kaonis added five kills, while Karlee Hollis also finished with five kills.

Senior outside hitter Samantha Kaonis sat on the bench most of the evening as the Cowgirl freshman gained valuable experience. However, Kaonis made the most of the time she had on the floor, earning two kills in just two attempts.

"We could probably start a little bit faster, but our serving is good, our passing is awesome, and our hits are amazing as well," Kaonis said.

With the win, the Cowgirls ran their record to 5-0 on the season while the Class 3A Highlanders fell to 6-3 on the year.

The Cowgirls, who are ranked fifth in the first OSAA power rankings of the year, host the 21st-ranked Class 5A Mountain View Cougars on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., then head south on Saturday for the Rogue Valley Tournament, which features some of the top 5A and 6A schools in the state.

"The Rogue Valley Tournament should be a real test for us," said Honl.