Cowgirls suffer first loss of season in quarterfinals of South Albany State Preview Tournament

The Crook County Cowgirls went 6-0 in pool play and whipped South Albany 25-14, 25-7 in the first round of bracket play Saturday afternoon at the South Albany State Preview Volleyball LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Hannah Troutman goes up for a kill earlier this year. Troutman finished with 58 kills and 36 digs as the Cowgirls reached the semifinals of the South Albany State Preview Tournament.

However, the Cowgirls undefeated string ended as the team lost 25-17, 25-14 to the defending Class 5A state champion West Albany Bulldogs in the tournament quarterfinals.

“I was really happy,” said Crook County Head Coach Rosie Honl about her team’s performance in the tournament. “They just did an awesome job. They got better and better as the day went on. It was a great day.”

Despite winning the Rogue Valley Invitational the previous week, the Cowgirls were seeded 17th in the 20-team tournament. Crook County opened bracket play with a decisive 25-15, 25-18 win over Class 6A Sheldon who was undefeated going into the tournament, and seeded first in the pool. The Cowgirls continued to roll, knocking off Sprague 25-19, 25-18 in the second round of pool play. Sprague went on to win the silver bracket of the tournament and is now ranked seventh in Class 6A. Crook County finished pool play with a 25-14, 25-7 thrashing of Lebanon.

Despite winning the pool, the Cowgirls were given the bottom seed in bracket play and were forced to play a pigtail match just to get into the gold bracket of the tournament.

In the pigtail match, Crook County blasted South Albany 25-14, 25-7.

“We didn’t have an easy game all day except our first match in bracket play with South Albany,” Honl said. “I loved crushing them because they are the ones that came up with the bracket.”

The Cowgirls finally met their match in the quarterfinals against the Bulldogs. West Albany, who is currently ranked No. 1 in Class 5A was just too tall for the Cowgirls.

“They had two 6-02 girls who were just hitting over the blocks of our freshmen blockers,” Honl said. “Our freshmen were looking around and trying to figure out what was happening. They just ran a way faster offense than us, that’s why they beat us.”

West Albany went on to win the tournament, knocking off Central Catholic in the championship.

Although Honl was pleased with all aspects of the team’s play during the tournament, she was especially pleased with how well the team served. The team went 176 for 190 from the service line with 21 aces. Abby Smith finished 35-36 from the line with five aces, while Kayla Hamilton was 47-52 with 12 aces. Karlee Hollis was 28-33 with four aces, while Hannah Troutman was 40-42 and Jennifer Roth was 26-27.

Troutman led the team with 58 kills on the day, while Hollis finished with 26 and Kathryn Kaonis added 21. Smith and Hamilton both had solid days directing the Cowgirl offense, finishing with 57 and 47 assists respectively. Aspen Christiansen and Troutman led the Cowgirl defense with 48 and 39 digs respectively while Kaonis came up with nine blocks on the day. Smith also had a solid defensive effort with 20 digs.

“She was digging up a storm and really helped us against some of the good teams,” Honl said.

The Cowgirls have dropped from No. 1 to No. 2 in the Class 4A rankings despite sporting a 12-1 record while facing some of the top 5A and 6A?teams in the state. The team has a tough Special District I matchup tonight when they take on the No. 4- ranked and undefeated Ridgeview Ravens in a 6:30 p.m. match that will be played in Redmond. The Ravens, who have two 6-03 middle blockers, won the Class 4A Cottage Grove Tournament on Saturday to run their record to 12-0.

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