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One more league victory would guarantee the Cowgirls another state playoff berth

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - McKinzie Jonas goes up for a kill last Saturday at the Clearwater Classic Volleyball Tournament. Jonas had nine kills on Tuesday as the Cowgirls defeated the Hood River Valley Eagles in straight sets to improve to 6-1 in Intermountain Conference play and 16-5 overall. The Crook County Cowgirls are one win away from wrapping up another volleyball playoff berth.

The Cowgirls took care of business on the road Tuesday evening as they rolled past the Hood River Valley Eagles 25-12, 25-9, 25-19 to improve to 6-1 in Intermountain Conference play.

"We had a lot of great moments tonight when we were connected as a team," Crook County head coach Kristy Struck said. "Our goal is to improve every time we step on the court and to stay focused. We are close to doing some great things."

The Cowgirls took control early in the opening set, and were not challenged the entire match as they cruised to the easy victory.

Kenna Woodward and McKenzie Jonas led the Crook County offensive attack with 10 and nine kills, respectively.

Libero Kacie Stafford led the Cowgirls in digs with 22.

Crook County did much of their damage from the service line.

The team had just three service errors all night as they went 69-72 from the service line, converting on more than 95% of their serves and picking up eight aces.

Stafford led the serving onslaught, going 15-15 with an ace, while Woodward was a perfect 12-12. Josie Kasberger also came off the bench to have a perfect night from the service line, going 7-7, while Jenny Mc-Kinnon went 9-10 with four aces.

The Cowgirls hosted the 11th ranked Pendleton Buckaroos, which are in third place in the IMC as of Thursday evening.

Crook County entered the match in second place in the IMC with a 6-1 league record and a 16-5 overall record, while Pendleton was 8-7 overall and 3-4 in conference play.

Following Thursday's match, the Cowgirls head to Portland, where they will compete in the West Linn Invitational on Saturday.

Pool play, which will be at Canby, Oregon City, and West Linn high schools, begins at 8 a.m.

The IMC schedule concludes next week as the Cowgirls travel to No. 2-ranked Ridgeview, 18-4, 7-0 on Tuesday, Oct. 22, for a match that could decide the league title. Then they will host Redmond, 4-11, 0-7 in the final match of the regular season on Thursday, Oct. 24. Both matches are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Should Crook County, which is currently ranked fifth, remain in the top eight in the OSAA power rankings, they will host a first round playoff match on Saturday, Nov. 2.

The state tournament will then be held on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9, at Liberty High School in Hillsboro.

Wilsonville is the top-ranked Class 5A team in the state with a 16-0 record. However, the Wildcats have not played a single team in the top 10 in either the Class 5A or 6A power rankings.

Ridgeview, West Albany, North Eugene, Corvallis, South Albany, Crater and Crook County are the other teams that are expected to reach the state tournament, although Thurston and La Salle Prep are also teams to watch for.

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