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Crook County struggles with inconsistency, but is still able to win despite resting starting setter Anna Woodward

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Defensive specialist Rebecca Cooper passes a ball in the third set of the Cowgirls' victory over Redmond on Thursday night. Libero Kacie Stafford covers for Cooper in the background. Redmond kept the match close for two games, but the Cowgirls still swept the Panthers to improve to 10-3 overall and 4-1 in conference play. The Crook County Cowgirls struggled with consistency Thursday night, but were still able to sweep the Redmond Panthers, earning a 25-20, 25-22, 25-14 road victory over the Panthers.

"Redmond just played consistent volleyball," Crook County head coach Kristy Struck said. "If you play consistent you will stay in the game. The team that makes the fewest errors usually wins. We cannot continue to make errors and expect to win."

The Cowgirls got out to a quick start in the opening set, rolling to a 15-5 lead. However, the Panthers came rolling back behind strong serving from libero Kiyarah Hicks.

Hicks served eight consecutive points as Redmond fought back into the set.

Crook County finally called time as they clung to a 15-14 lead.

The Cowgirls regrouped. A kill by McKinzie Jonas, a Redmond error and a Kendall Maycutt kill pushed the Cowgirl lead to 17-14.

From there, the two teams traded points as the Cowgirls held on to take the opening set.

The two teams traded points the entire second set with the match tied 14 times. Redmond led 21-20 before the Cowgirls scored five of the final six points of the set to edge the Panthers.

Crook County finally came to life in the third set, rolling out to a 4-0 lead, then continued to press their advantage as they took the easy win.

The Cowgirls played without starting setter Anna Woodward, who was resting a sore shoulder. However, Struck said that had nothing to do with how close the match was as backup setter Jenny McKinnon played well.

"Jenny set a very good game," Struck said. "She has not had a lot of practice on the court and she is putting balls up for the hitters to take care of. She played all the way around tonight and she is doing a fantastic job of taking care of her team."

Kenna Woodward led a balanced attack for the Cowgirls with nine kills, while Jonas and Liz Barker both finished with eight.

Meanwhile, the Panthers only had nine kills as a team, with Aspen Bradley leading the way with four.

However, the Panthers did have a huge edge in block kills.

With four players 5-10 or taller, the Panthers took advantage of their height advantage to finish with 10 block kills. Once again, Bradley led the way with five.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Syrie Ossenkop passes a ball during the third set of the Cowgirls' win over Redmond on Thursday. Josie Kasberger and Kacie Stafford are in the background. Woodward was the leading Crook County blocker with three block kills.

As has happened all season, Kacie Stafford led the Cowgirls in digs with 21.

Where Crook County won the match was at the service line. The squad went 83 for 87 from the service line with five aces.

Stormie Camara and Lily Cooper were both perfect from the service line, going 19-19 and 14-14, respectively.

Stafford was 17-18 serving while Woodward was 13-14 with a pair of aces and Maycutt went 13-14 also with two aces.

"It always feels good to win," Crook County defensive specialist Rebecca Cooper said. "But I feel like if we were going to qualify for state we needed to win this game, so it was pretty important. Our passing wasn't too great, so I think that's what hurt us."

With the win, the Cowgirls improved to 10-3 overall and 4-1 in Intermountain Conference play, while the Panthers fell to 2-8 overall and 0-5 in conference play.

"It wasn't our best game," Struck said. "We came out really flat. We didn't have a great practice last night and we definitely played like we practiced. it was not our best game."

The Cowgirls played in the Mount Hood Invitational on Saturday, then resume league play tonight when they host The Dalles, 9-5, 3-2, in a 6:30 p.m. match.

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