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UP TO THE CHALLENGE: Indians volleyball gives No. 4 Crook County a good fight

Cowgirls still take 25-11, 25-14, 25-9 first-round sweep

PAMPLIN MEDIA PHOTO: LON AUSTIN - Kamryn Erickson (10) tips a shot past Crook County senior outside hitter Jennifer Roth (11) and freshman middle blocker Rylee Troutman (5).PAMPLIN MEDIA PHOTO: LON AUSTIN - Shaylan Smith (3) jumps for a shot.The No. 13 Indians gave the fourth-ranked three-time defending Tri-Valley Conference champion Cowgirls more trouble than anyone else on Saturday, Oct. 29, in Prineville.

Crook County was quicker on the draw, however, and persisted to a 25-11, 25-14, 25-9 Class 4A state first-round sweep, its 23rd in its run for a ninth state title since 2006.

The Cowgirls (27-3) will face sixth-ranked Greater Oregon League champion Baker in the quarterfinals at 1:15 p.m. on Friday at Liberty High School in Hillsboro.

"From what [Tribe senior libero Alyssa Spang]'s dad said when we talked during the match, I think Scappoose expected to be a little bit closer," Central Oregonian sports editor Lon Austin said. "Just to put it in perspective, Scappoose came as close as anyone has come at Crook County all year except for [Class 5A No. 4] Bend and [Class 4A top-ranked] Valley Catholic. Even [Class 5A sixth-ranked] Summit lost as badly as Scappoose, and Bend and Valley Catholic both were only able to stay close for one set."

Hannah Galey led the Cowapa League fourth seed Indians (15-9 overall) with five kills, Kaylie Kopra landed four and Rosie Sykes, Kamryn Erickson and Shaylan Smith all finished with two.

Erickson recorded the Tribe's only block.

"We tried our best but we just got beat by a better team," said Galey, a junior outside hitter.

Senior outside hitter Jennifer Roth rang up 19 kills for her Cowgirls, and senior right-sider Jennifer McCallister and freshman middle blocker both spiked seven.

Roth dealt 11 aces, senior libero Aspen Christiansen swooped for 13 digs and Troutman blocked four shots.

The Tribe won eight matches in straight set this year, season-swept Seaside and Astoria and blanked La Grande as it reached at least the play-in round for the fifth year in a row and seeks its first state title.

"I enjoyed playing with the girls and being a leader on the court, and I feel like I improved a lot this season," Spang said.

Spang, Kopra and Sykes will graduate in the spring as Galey, Christina Becker, Kyleigh Weber, Kristina Barnes and Ashley Oakland become seniors.

"I felt like my senior year was succesful, as our team made it to the first round of the playoffs," said Kopra, a right-sider. "I had a lot of fun, and I wish the best for the team next year."