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Fifth-ranked Crook County plows through the White Buffalos; best shot for season's first league win may be against Gladstone

LON AUSTIN  - Raylene Alire gets the ball back over the net during the Buffalos' lost at Crook County Wednesday. 
The Madras White Buffalo volleyball team is struggling to gain traction during the league season.

The White Buffalos dropped a pair of matches to league rivals this week, falling to Molalla 25-10, 25-23, 25-15 on Monday, then losing to Crook County 25-2, 25-13, 25-7 on Wednesday.

Monday the White Buffalos got off to a slow start in the opening set, then rebounded to push Molalla to the limits in set two before finally dropping the set by two points. However, the White Buffalos lost the momentum in set three as Molalla pulled away for the sweep.

"It was an average performance," said Madras head coach Frank Maynard. "We ended up losing. The emotions and the want to, right now, that is the problem. I think that Estacada, Gladstone and Molalla are within the ability range of this group."

Wednesday was another story. Crook County totally dominated the first set, using just three servers in the set, with Callie Winebarger setting the tone while going 16-16 with five aces in the set.

Madras played much better in the second set, hanging with the fifth-ranked Cowgirls for much of the set before Crook County pulled away late. Once again, the White Buffalos struggled in the third set as Crook County came away with the easy win.

"I think that we need to just keep our energy up," said Madras outside hitter Illiana Hance regarding both matches. "We all know how to play good volleyball and we play good together as long as we have our energy and everyone continues to give effort, even when they are feeling down."

Although Maynard would like to have seen the White Buffalos put up more of a fight, he still felt that the team played better than they did the previous week.

"We scored more points against these guys (Crook County) in the second set than we did against Gladstone, so I've got to say it was a better effort," he said.

The biggest problem for the White Buffalos against the Cowgirls was their service receive. The Cowgirls finished with 23 aces in the match on 73 serves, while Madras had just one ace from Miriam Egoavil. The Cowgirl offense also dominated at the net with 24 kills to just eight for the White Buffalos. Mattie Buck and Breanna Lacey each had three kills for Madras, while Yvonee Greene and Breann Heckathorn each had a kill. Crook County was led by McKenzie Jonas with 11 kills.

With the pair of losses the White Buffalos fell to 0-10 overall and 0-5 in conference play. Meanwhile Molalla improved to 7-7 overall and 2-3 in conference play and Crook County improved to 9-4 overall and 5-0 in league.

The White Buffalos will play in a tournament at Junction City on Saturday, then resume league play on Monday when they hosted Estacada, 6-6, 2-3, in a 6 p.m. match. The White Buffalos then go on the road on Wednesday to take on Gladstone, 2-10, 2-3. Game time is also set for 6 p.m.

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