Crook County faces Ridgeview in Friday morning quarterfinals

The Crook County Cowgirls are well positioned to make a run for their eighth consecutive state volleyball LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Crook County setter, Kayla Hamilton, dives to pass a ball during the Cowgirls' victory over the La Salle Prep Falcons on Friday night. The win earned the Cowgirls a trip to the OSAA Class 4A State Volleyball Championships at Lane Community College in Eugene.

The Cowgirls took care of business Friday night, knocking off La Salle Prep 25-15, 25-12, 25-17 in the first round of the state playoffs. Crook County fell behind early in the first set, but came roaring back to easily win the match. The Cowgirls now face league rival Ridgeview Friday morning in a state quarterfinal match at Lane Community College in Eugene.

Crook County goes into the state championships with the No. 2 seed in the tournament. The Cowgirls sport a 23-5 record and have not lost to a Class 4A team this season. They are led by seniors Hannah Troutman and Kathryn Kaonis who both looked impressive in the Cowgirls' win over La Salle Prep.

Troutman finished with 20 kills in just 31 attempts and Kaonis added 14 kills in 25 attempts. Karlee Hollis also looked strong in the win, finishing with 10 kills in 24 attempts. She was also 12-12 from the service line with an ace in the match. Setter Kayla Hamilton and defensive specialist Laken Berlin also provide tournament experience for the Cowgirls.

Although the Cowgirls have a wealth of tournament experience, they are one of the youngest teams, with five freshmen in their starting rotation. Freshman setter Abby Smith leads the team in assists, while libero Aspen Christiansen is second on the team to Troutman in digs. Fellow freshmen Jennifer Roth, Jennifer McCallister, and Laura Fraser have also played major roles for the Cowgirls this LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Karlee Hollis goes up for a kill against La Salle Prep on Friday. Hollis is second on the team in kills on the year.

Cascade holds the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Cougars have an impressive 23-1 record, which includes wins over Banks, Sisters, Ridgeview, and Philomath — all teams who have reached the state tournament. However, Cascade also lost to Philomath late in the season, and has not played any Class 5A or 6A opponents.

Meanwhile, the Cowgirls have wins over six of the eight teams in the Class 6A tournament and five of the top eight teams in Class 5A.

Both the Cowgirls and the Cougars have dangerous matchups in the first round of the tournament. Although Crook County has defeated Ridgeview twice this year, the first meeting went five sets. Ridgeview won the first two sets of the match and it took a tremendous comeback from Crook County to escape with the win. The Ravens have an impressive 20-5 record and finished second to Crook County in the Intermountain Hybrid League with a 7-3 league record. Cascade will face league rival Philomath (23-7) Friday morning. They have won two of three meetings this year between the league rivals. Still Philomath is coming off a big road win over Madras in the first round of the state tournament and has won four of their last five matches.

Other teams to watch for in this year’s state tournament include No. 3-seeded Hidden Valley (19-1), No. 4 seed Banks (22-4), and No. 5 seed Sisters (19-5). Sixth-seeded La Grande (18-3) is also dangerous and has previous tournament experience.

Should the Cowgirls get past Ridgeview in the tournament quarterfinals, they will face the winner of Hidden Valley and La Grande Friday night in the semifinals.

The tournament, which is held in conjunction with the Class 3A tournament runs through Saturday with the Class 3A final scheduled to start at 6 p.m. and the Class 4A final scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

On a side note, six of the eight teams still alive in the Class 4A tournament attended Crook County’s team camp this past summer.

Tournament information

The Class 4A State Volleyball Championships will be held at Lane Community College in Eugene on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8-9. The tournament is held in conjunction with the Class 3A championship. The Class 4A tournament starts at 8 a.m. with Cascade playing Philomath and Banks facing Sisters. Class 4A action continues at 10 a.m. when Crook County takes on Ridgeview and La Grande plays Hidden Valley.

The Class 3A quarterfinals begin at 1:15 p.m. when No. 1 ranked Vale takes on Creswell and Valley Catholic faces Nyssa. Class 3A action continues at 3:15 p.m. with Salem Academy facing Oregon Episcopal and Santiam Christian playing Corbett. Class 4A semifinal matches are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. with Class 3A semifinals to follow at 8:30 p.m. The Tournament continues at 8 a.m. Saturday morning with consolation matches. The Class 3A championship will start at 6 p.m. Saturday night with the Class 4A?championship match beginning at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets for the state championships may be purchased at the gate and are available for either individual sessions or for the entire tournament. Cost for the quarterfinal rounds is $7 for adults or $4 for students. Semifinal tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets for the entire tournament are $25 for adults or $14 for students.

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