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Cougars are starting to find the formula that forces teams to work hard to get points, wins off them

A Tuesday win coupled with a Thursday loss left the Canby volleyball team at 2-4 in Three Rivers League play as conference action has gotten dialed in.

Canby got its second conference win of the season on Sept. 21 with a four set victory over St Mary's, 25-17, 11-25, 25-21 and 25-20.

"St. Mary's was bigger and had three really good hitters, so again we were outmanned, but we won the ball control battle," coach Terri Jo Schlatter said. "We had 15 service aces in the match, led by Gabi Gray with five, Chloe Annas with four, and Atalie Leder with three.

PMG PHOTO: SARAH OLIVER - The Canby volleyball team split a pair of league matches during the week.

Offensively, the Cougars had a balanced attack with Annas leading in kills with eight, but got plenty of help from the likes of Leder with eight and RayAnne Schedler with nine.

"Natalie Just ran the offense well and tallied 31 assists," according to Schlatter. "Defensively, Chloe Annas had four blocks, Jordan Bloedel added one block. Digs came from everyone and everywhere. We had a total of 41 led by Ava Carroll with 10 digs. Gabi Gray had three, Natalie Just had nine, Annas three, Leder and Sammy Vandecouevering each had seven digs.

"Our serving was the catalyst for us against St. Mary's. All night the Crusaders were out of system and scrambling," added Schlatter. "We know we can compete with that. St. Mary's had some big offensive weapons that were mostly neutralized, except in the second set where we were beaten pretty badly. We regrouped and focused on serving and passing and kept fighting. I was very proud of the team's effort. Even when things got tough, they didn't back down. Their perseverance paid off."

Oregon City 3, Canby 1

"Oregon City is one of the top teams in the League this year with a lot of offensive weapons," Schlatter said. "They have a big dynamic freshman who is a game-changer for them. I was very worried about how we stacked up against them, but once again my team stepped up to the challenge."

Though the Cougars fell by a 3-1 score, Schlatter noted how proud she was of the effort and fight her team exhibited throughout the match.

Annas led the Cougars with 13 kills, while Schedler added seven.

"Natalie once again ran the office and got 30 assists," Schlatter said. "We only had nine service aces on the night, but once again, our serving is what helped keep us in the match. Many of our serves were not aces, but definitely contributed to OC's struggles, keeping them out of system a lot of the match. We could compete with that. But in system, their two big bangers on the outside were too much for us."

The Cougars tallied a season-high 48 digs on the match, led by a Vandecouevering's 14 and Gabi Gray's 10.

"We did not win, but I was very proud of how hard they fought throughout the whole match," Schlatter said. "Even the OC coach was impressed and mentioned how they did not expect that kind of match against us since we are so small as blockers, but that we made them really work hard for the win. That is a great compliment to my team. If we can do that, we put ourselves in situations where we can pull out a win, and other teams are nervous to play us."

Canby continues league play Sept. 28 at Lakeridge and Sept. 30 with a visit from Lake Oswego as the second half of league play begins. Both matches have 6:30 p.m. start times.

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