Crook County knocks off La Salle Prep 25-15, 25-12, 25-17 to advance to the state tournament

The Crook County Cowgirls overcame a slow start to easily defeat the La Salle Prep Falcons 25-15, 25-12, 25-17 Friday night in the first round of the state LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Hannah Troutman blasts one of her 20 kills against the La Salle Prep Falcons. Troutman also had 12 digs in the match while going 13-15 from the service line with two aces. The Cowgirls easily defeated the Falcons, advancing to the state tournament, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Lane Community College in Eugene.

“They had all those big girls and we just blasted through them,” Crook County Head Coach Rosie Honl said following the match. “I’m just tickled pink. I was worried more than I have been for any other team in the playoffs because they have played all the teams in the top eight close.”

La Salle jumped on top early in the first set and led 10-7. However, the Cowgirls came storming back to tie the game 11-11. Crook County scored 14 of the next 18 points to win the set going LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kathryn Kaonis goes up for one of her 14 kills in the Cowgirls victory over the La Salle Prep Falcons in the first round of the state playoffs

The Falcons jumped out to a 1-0 lead to open the second set, but the Cowgirls quickly regained control of the set and won going away. Crook County jumped out to a 6-3 lead to start the third set, but La Salle Prep battled back, finally taking an 8-9 lead. From there the two teams traded points until Crook County finally took the lead for good 15-14. From there, Crook County steadily pulled away for the win.

As she has done all season, Hannah Troutman led the Cowgirls’ offensive efforts. The senior outside hitter finished with 20 kills, two blocks, 12 digs, and went 13-15 from the service line with two aces. Kathryn Kaonis was also outstanding, blasting 14 kills in just 20 attempts. Karlee Hollis added nine kills while going 12-12 from the service line with an ace.

“We played well tonight,” Troutman said. “We played hard and worked as a team.”

“We kept our heads up the entire match — even when we were down, we just stayed strong,” added Kaonis.

Aspen Christiansen had another outstanding defensive effort, finishing with 14 digs, while going 10-10 from the service line with an ace.

With the win, the Cowgirls earn a berth in the quarterfinals against Ridgeview. The game is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 8, at Lane Community College in Eugene.

“We’ve got two really good, hard practices and then Wednesday will be the seniors’ practices and that’s it,” Honl said. “I feel much better now that we have taken care of La Salle. I’m feeling 100 percent better. Getting there — we’ve made that hurdle.”

The Cowgirls, who are attempting to earn their eighth consecutive state championship, are the No. 2 seed in the tournament.

“Obviously, we plan on working hard all week, then going to state and wanting that eighth title.” Troutman said. “We are still going to have to work as hard as any other team. It’s not a given, but I love our chances.”

“The goal has always been to win state,” added Kaonis, “but the expectations are just to work really hard.”

Seniors Sam Kaonis and Cheyenne Camara are also excited about the team’s chances at the state tournament.

“We’ll play our hearts out,” Kaonis said. “I’m really excited about it.”

“I feel confident that we are going to work hard the whole week and are going to do good at state,” added Camara. “We’ve worked hard and earned it.”

Cascade, which has just one loss this year, is the tournament’s No. 1 seed. The state tournament will continue through Saturday evening with the state championship match scheduled for 8:30 p.m., Saturday night.

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