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Crook County tops a pair of 5A schools, survived a 32-30 set loss to Redmond to win in four sets; faces The Dalles next

LON AUSTIN  - Callie Winebarger lays out to save a shot Tuesday, Sept. 6 as the Cowgirls entertained both Mt. View and Redmond. They beat both. It wasn't always pretty, but the Crook County High School volleyball team picked up a pair of wins over Class 5A competition on Tuesday.

Playing at home, the Cowgirls played well at times, but at other times struggled with consistency while taking a pair of four-set victories over Redmond (25-15, 26-24, 30-32, 25-10) and Mountain View (25-7, 20-25, 25-12, 25-19). With the wins, Crook County improved to 3-2 on the year, and moved up from 15th to 11th in the OSAA power rankings.

Despite jumping out to an early 8-3 lead in the first set against Redmond, the Cowgirls still looked flat and played without emotion. Crook County easily won the first set 25-15, then had to hold on as they took a 26-24 win in the second set. Set three was a different story. Crook County jumped out to a 6-1 lead, but the Panthers came roaring back, tying the set at 7-7. From that point on the match was tight with the score tied 16 times before Redmond finally took a 32-30 win. That set seemed to be a turning point for Crook County as they dominated the fourth set, rolling to a 25-10 victory.

"Honestly, we improved a lot," senior right side hitter Abby Barker said at the end of the evening. "We were more energetic and we were talking to each other more. We just really went for it and were better, and played as a team. We need to be more energetic every game and just have fun."

The Cowgirls struggled offensively against the taller Panthers, but played solid defense, and won the match with their stellar serving.

As a team, Crook County went 100-106 from the service line with 18 aces. McKenzie Jonas was a perfect 18-18 from the service line with four aces, while Joann McKinnon went 19-20 with four aces, Jaycee Villastrigo 19-20 with two aces, Jacey Ramoss 14-14 with three aces, Danner Hemphill 16-18 with four aces, and Callie Winebarger went 14-16 with an ace.

Meanwhile, Redmond had just six aces and 12 service errors. The Cowgirls also had an edge defensively as Villastrigo finished with 17 digs, while Jonas and Hemphill each had six and Winebarger finished with five.

Jonas, a senior, carried the team offensively with 29 kills, while freshman Lillimae Brumble was also in double figures with 11 kills. McKinnon pitched in with four kills, while Cylie Hartzell added three. As a team, the Cowgirls finished with 51 kills, while Ramoss finished with 41 assists. Meanwhile, Redmond had just 22 kills as a team, with Megan Gilbo leading the way with six, while McKenna Crain added five.

The Cowgirls rode the momentum of the fourth set against Redmond into the Mountain View match, jumping out to a 15-2 lead in set one as they rolled to an easy 25-7 win. Mountain View regrouped, jumping out to a 15-7 lead before holding on for a 25-20 win.

With Winebarger serving four consecutive aces, Crook County jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the third set as they rolled to a 25-12 win. However, once again, Mountain View battled back, leading the fourth set 14-11 before the Cowgirls started rolling again. Crook County tied the set 14-14 on a kill by Jonas. The two teams were tied 15-15 before the Cowgirls took the lead for good at 16-15.

When Brumble picked up a kill late in the match the team led 21-17. However, Brumble went down with a sprained ankle on the play leaving Crook County scrambling to fill the middle blocker position for the remainder of the match. That turned out not to be a problem as Crook County held on to win the set and the match.

"It was a little hard," Barker said of Brumble's injury. "But we honestly know how to play volleyball, so it wasn't that hard for most of us."

Once again the Cowgirls dominated at the service line, going 86-93 as a team with 18 aces, while Mountain View had just six aces as a team.

Jonas was once again perfect from the line, going 15-15 with five aces, while Winebarger was 19-21, also with five aces, Ramoss was a perfect 13-13 with three aces, while Villastrigo went22-23 with a pair of aces.

The Cowgirls finished with 33 kills as a team with Jonas leading the way with 18. Brumble added five, while McKinnon, a junior, pitched in with four and Hartzell, a sophomore, added three. Mountain View was led by Kate Mawdsley with 12 kills, while nobody else had more than four.

Ramoss, one of just three seniors on the Cowgirl roster, finished with 23 assists and 12 digs, while Villastrigo, a junior, had 34 digs, and McKinnon finished with nine.

Crook County does not play again until Thursday, Sept. 15, when they open the Tri-Valley Conference season with a 6:30 p.m. match against The Dalles Riverhawks, who are currently 4-1 on the year and ranked seventh in the OSAA power rankings.

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