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Cowgirls take invitational

Crook County defeats Class 6A Tigard 27-25, 25-20 in championship match

by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Makayla Lindburg goes up for a kill during the Cowgirls’ victory over Estacada in the semifinals of the Trails End Invitational. Lindburg led the Cowgirls with 57 kills as Crook County won the tournament.

The Crook County Cowgirls are champions again.
   The Cowgirls didn’t always play their best volleyball, but it was good enough to go undefeated as they cruised to the championship at the Trails End Invitational, which was held Saturday, in Oregon City.
   “The competition wasn’t as good as I had hoped for,” said Crook County head coach Rosie Honl. “But we were able to win and work on our new rotation.”
   The Cowgirls, who went into the tournament seeded No. 1, lived up to their billing as they rolled through pool play.
   Newberg head coach Leilani Kamahoahoa generously allowed the Crook County team to stay at her house Friday evening. The Cowgirls repaid the kindness by whipping the Tigers 25-13, 25-11 in the opening round of pool play. Crook County rolled over Milwaukee 25-15, 25-11, and Centennial 25-12, 25-11 in their remaining pool contests.
   Crook County started bracket play with a 25-15, 25-10 victory over Estacada setting up a showdown with the Class 6A Tigard Tigers, who had also gone through the tournament undefeated. Tigard reached the finals after squeaking past Westview 25-20, 25-23 in their semifinal matchup.
   The Tigers jumped out to an early lead in the first set. However, the Cowgirls calmly battled back, finally taking the set 27-25. The second set was nearly as close as the Cowgirls held on to win 25-20.
   “They have a couple real good players and it was a close match all the way,” Honl said.
   Makayla Lindburg had 11 kills in the championship match while Hannah Troutman added seven. However, it was the serving of Ali Apperson and Laken Berlin that made the difference in the match. The duo combined to go a perfect 21 for 21 from the service line as the Cowgirls captured their second tournament championship of the season.
   Berlin finished the tournament a perfect 83 for 83 from the service line while adding 47 assists and 14 digs.
   “Berlin was just amazing,” Honl said. “Not one service or digging error all day. That was her goal for the day.”
   Annie Fraser, who shared setting duties with Berlin, finished with 70 assists while adding seven digs and five kills.
   Lindburg and Troutman led the Cowgirl offense with 57 and 30 kills respectively. Troutman also led the team in digs with 34 while Lindburg finished with 30 digs and 14 blocks. Lindburg’s hitting was especially effective as she ripped the 57 kills in just 108 attempts.
   Karlee Hollis also had a solid day finishing with 14 kills.
   “She was real efficient. She served well and also played great defense.
   The Cowgirls are still playing without the services of starting setter Kayla Hamilton, who is out with an injury.
   However, Honl was pleased with how the team responded in their new rotation. In addition Hamilton is recovering quickly and is expected to return to the lineup in the near future.
   “It was good to get the win without Hamilton,” Honl said. “Fraser and Berlin are doing a great job filling in and we are getting used to the new rotation. It was just a great weekend for us.
   With the tournament championship, the Cowgirls are now 10-2 on the season and are ranked No. 1 in the latest OSAA Class 4A power rankings.
   The Cowgirls are back in action tonight when they travel to Redmond to take on the Ridgeview Ravens in a Special District I matchup. Ridgeview, which just opened this fall is currently 6-5 overall and is in the midst of a three match losing skid. The Ravens have fallen from as high as fourth in the early season power rankings all the way to 24th in the latest rankings.
   The two teams met earlier this year in the Mountain View Invitational with the Cowgirls coming away with a close win.
   Game time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.