Crook County jumps out to fast start and takes 3-0 win over Bend

For much of the season, the Crook County High School volleyball team has been slow out of the gate.

The team has gotten behind early in matches and then had to battle their way back. This wasn't the case on Tuesday, as the team rolled to a 25-19, 25-12, 25-15 victory over the Bend Lava LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Laken Berlin passes the ball while Aspen Christiansen backs her up during the second set of the Cowgirls victory over the Bend Lava Bears Tuesday Night.

“We’re definitely starting out stronger now,” said middle blocker Kathryn Kaonis following the match. “It’s good because then we start winning faster. When we get so far behind, we have to work so hard to win matches. Knowing that we are winning, you can relax and have fun in the game.”

The Cowgirls jumped out to a 7-1 lead in the first set of the match, then held at least a six-point lead the remainder of the set. The second set was even easier as the Cowgirls jumped on top 7-0 and cruised to a 13-point victory.

“We served them off the court,” said Head Coach Rosie Honl. “Our goal was to make all of our first serves today and we did that.”

The Lava Bears tried to rally in the third set, and led briefly. However, the Cowgirls scored five consecutive points to make the score 6-3 and regain control of the match. From there, Crook County dominated, rolling to a 23-10 lead before pulling team leader, Hannah Troutman, off the floor late in the match.

Troutman finished the match with 17 kills, eight digs, was 5-6 from the service line, and had three blocks.

Kaonis was also outstanding, blasting eight kills in just 12 attempts and adding three blocks of her own. Karlee Hollis added six kills while going 11-13 from the service line with a pair of aces.

Kayla Hamilton was a perfect 18-18 from the service line with a pair of aces and added 18 assists. Abby Smith added 19 assists.

Aspen Christiansen was also outstanding from the service line going 19-19 with an ace. In addition, Christiansen led the Cowgirl defense with 19 digs.

With the big lead, several other Cowgirls who don’t always get a lot of opportunities to hit the ball also got into the action. Jennifer McCallister, Samantha Kaonis, and Jennifer Roth all finished with three kills.

Callie Kruska led the Lava Bears with 11 kills and two blocks, while Lexie Ostrander finished with 13 assists.

“Bend’s a good team and I was really glad to get out of there in three,” Honl said.

The Cowgirls (19-4) play in the West Linn Invitational on Saturday, then return home on Tuesday to face the Ridgeview Ravens. The winner of the 6:30 p.m. match will be the Special District I champions and receive an automatic bye into the first round of the playoffs.

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