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Improve at the end of the season to win two matches; finish with a loss to No 8-ranked Crook County

LON AUSTIN  - Kinlee Baggett, left, keeps a point alive during the Madras-Crook County game Oct. 17. Miriam Egavil is also ready to react. The Madras White Buffalo volleyball team entered the past week on something of a roll. The team had beaten De La Salle North Catholic on Saturday, Oct. 1 for their first win of the year. Then on Oct. 5, they earned their first league win with a victory over Gladstone.

Unfortunately, the White Buffalos could not continue the momentum. Last Tuesday Madras fell to the league champion The Dalles Riverhawks. Then on Thursday the White Buffalos fell in straight sets to the Molalla Indians, before closing their season out at Home Monday with a loss to the Crook County Cowgirls.

"We did great as a team," said Madras Libero Kinlee Baggett of Thursday's home loss to Molalla. "We were more proud of how mentally tough we were in that game. We didn't give up quite as much as we used to."

Madras was playing without two of their hitters due to injuries, but the White Buffalos still had a chance to win the match as they fell 25-22, 25-14, 25-10 to the Indians.

"We had a key player not have their best game," Madras head coach Frank Maynard said of the match.

The first set was tight all the way. The Buffs held a 21-18 lead, then it was tied 22-22, before Molalla got the final three points for the key first-set win.

The Indians blew out to a 7-1 lead to drive their win in set two. Madras rallied to get within four at 18-14, but never got closer in the 25-14 loss. In the third set, it was as close at 9-7 Molalla before they went on a run to make it 23-9. Madras scored one more point before Molalla cashed in the victory.

Following the tight loss Thursday, the White Buffalos hosted Crook County Monday on senior night Monday. Following a celebration honoring the seniors, the White Buffalos fell in straight sets, 25-14, 25-13, 25-10, to the eighth-ranked Cowgirls.

Despite the loss, Maynard said that he was pleased with the team's effort.

"In terms of staying in the game and staying positive with each other, this was heads and shoulders above the Molalla match," he said. "In my opinion, with where we have been up and down all year, we probably gave them as best as we've got tonight."

Illiana Hance led the White Buffalo offensive attack against Crook County with three kills, while Matty Buck, Raylene Alire, Yvonee Greene, Breann Heckathorn, KayDee Abendschein and Breanna Lacey each had one.

Meanwhile, Crook County was led by McKenzie Jonas, who finished with 21 kills.

Hance and Kinlee Baggett each had a pair of aces in the match. However, Crook County's serving caused the White Buffalos problems as the Cowgirls finished with 14 aces.

With the loss, the Madras season ends with a 2-15 overall record and a 1-9 Tri-Valley Conference record. Meanwhile, Molalla improved to 11-9 overall and 4-5 in league, while the Cowgirls ran their record to 17-10 overall and 9-1 in conference play.

Despite the loss in the final match, Baggett was pleased with how much the White Buffalos have improved over the course of the season.

"Tonight, was bittersweet," she said. "We all became mentally tougher. We became closer as a team. We started calling each other out to help each other. We didn't comfort each other with a lie we gave them the hard truth and I think we became a lot better than our program last year."

The seniors playing their final games included Hance, Baggett, Buck, Greene, and Alire.

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