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Crook County gives up a pair of first half goals, then stiffens on defense, but runs out of time when match is shortened by lightning

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Crook County goal keeper Lakyra Walker makes a save during the Cowgirls' match with the Madras White Buffalos on Thursday. Madras went on to outscore the Cowgirls 3-0 to win the match, which was shortened because of lightning and darkness. The Cowgirls go on the road Saturday to take on the La Pine Hawks in a 3 p.m. match. The Crook County Cowgirls bounced back from a 10-0 blanking by South Albany on Saturday, Aug. 31, to play a close match with the Madras White Buffalos Thursday afternoon in Prineville.

In a match that started late, and then was delayed by lightning before finally being shortened because of weather and darkness, the Cowgirls gave the White Buffalos all they could handle, before Madras finally pulled away for a 3-0 win.

"I saw connecting passes," Crook County first-year head coach Destanie Johnson told her team after the match. "I saw you guys moving and working as a team. I saw us practicing our give-and-go drill. That was some of the best passing I have seen. Everybody came out strong and I'm super proud of that."

The match was scoreless early before Madras finally scored a goal 14 minutes into the match when Hannah Holliday took a crossing pass and drilled it into the back of the Cowgirl goal.

Then, late in the first half, Natalie Lockey was able to slide and connect with the ball just before it rolled over the end line and slip it past Crook County goalkeeper Lakyra Walker into the far corner of the goal to give the White Buffalos a 2-0 lead.

"I was more prepared for this game," Walker said. "I think we played a lot better. We had better communication between players. We still need more help on defense and better touches on the ball, but we played a lot better today than at South Albany."

The Cowgirls had a pair of scoring chances late in the half, but were unable to connect.

Then, just as the half ended, thunder and lightning surrounded the field, causing the game to be temporarily stopped.

By the time players were able to get to the school to wait out the storm, it had turned into a downpour.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Jacey Allen plays the ball away from a Madras defender during the Cowgirls' 3-0 loss to the White Buffalos on Thursday. Crook County is back in action on Saturday when they go on the road to take on the La Pine Hawks in a 3 p.m. match. A break in the lightning allowed play to resume.

Once again, the Cowgirls had some opportunities to score, but were unable to find the goal. Then, about 15 minutes into the half, Briseida Carlon scored another goal for the White Buffalos.

For the next several minutes the Cowgirls dominated play, but in the end it didn't matter, because they couldn't find a way to finish.

With nearly 20 minutes left to play, and darkness approaching, the lightning returned, causing the remaining portion of the game to be canceled.

Still, Johnson was pleased with what she saw from her team.

We had a few key players come out so we were able to move people back to positions that maybe they were more familiar with," she said. "Where they were filling in before because we had to drop some players to defense that maybe were attackers. So we had some strong defense this game and we were able to put our players in positions that they needed to be in."

Johnson added that she was excited with what she saw.

"I think that the drills were actually translating from practice to the field," she said. "I think we are implementing what we are practicing. I have been optimistic this whole time. I don't think there has been a time when I have doubted these girls."

Johnson noted that now that the defense has improved, the next step for the team is to begin working on attacking.

We have to work on finishing our shots," She said. "We have to work on connecting those balls to our outside attackers and crossing them in and getting our first one-touch shot off, but I think that's all we've been taking is big steps in the right direction."

With the loss, the Cowgirls fell to 0-2 while the White Buffalos improved to 1-1.

Crook County does not play again until Saturday, Sept. 14, giving them a week of practice before they have to play again.

The Cowgirls and La Pine have already seen each other this year at the Sisters Jamboree, where the Hawks took a 3-0 win over Crook County in a 30-minute practice match.

Game time is set for 3 p.m.

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