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One more time
Cowgirls defeat Astoria to win seventh consecutive state volleyball championship
The Crook County volleyball team celebrates after winning the final point in the state volleyball finals.
November 12, 2012
They are running out of superlatives to describe the Crook County High School volleyball team.
The Cowgirls rolled into Eugene with the No. 1 seed for the Class 4A state championships and then rolled over the competition to win their seventh consecutive state title.
“That was a fun weekend,” said head coach Rosie Honl. “They did it. Now on to next year.”
Although the Cowgirls were listed as the visitors for all three of their matches during the state tournament, it was clear from the start that the team was right at home on center court.
The team didn’t drop a set the entire tournament as they swept Elmira, Madras, and Astoria en route to the title.
Crook County was in control throughout as they knocked off the Elmira Falcons 25-11, 25-23, 25-8 in the quarterfinal rounds Friday afternoon. The Falcons led briefly in the first set, taking a 7-6 lead before a Makayla Lindburg kill tied the set at 7-7. From there, the Cowgirls dominated the first set, outscoring the Falcons 18-4 the rest of the way. Although the second set was closer, Elmira was never able to take the lead. Late in the set, Crook County opened up a 21-15 lead. However, the Falcons battled back to tie the set 22-22. From there, Hannah Troutman took over, blasting a pair of kills as the Cowgirls won the set.
Crook County left no doubt who was in control in the third and final set. The Cowgirls rolled out to a 10-1 lead, and never let the Falcons back into the match as they cruised to the easy victory.
Lindburg led the Cowgirl attack with 17 kills while Troutman added 11 kills and a team-high seven digs.
Annie Fraser was masterful from the service line going 12-13 with four aces. Lindburg and Kayla Hamilton also had solid serving matches, going 10-10 and 9-9 respectively.
The Cowgirls continued their dominant play Friday evening as they rolled over the Madras White Buffaloes 25-10, 25-18, 25-17 to reach the championship.
Lindburg was dominant again against the White Buffaloes. The two-time Class 4A player of the year finished with a match-high 16 kills while going 17 for 18 from the service line with four aces. Ali Apperson was a perfect 15-15 from the service line with three aces while Hamilton was 17-18 with four aces. Meanwhile, Troutman finished with 16 kills, eight digs, and went 16-19 from the service line with five aces.
While Crook County was expected to reach the championship round, Astoria surprised everyone by reaching the championship. The Fishermen upended No. 2-ranked Sisters 25-22, 25-21, 22-25, 19-25, 15-13 in the quarterfinal round. Then, in the semifinals, Astoria knocked off the Cowapa League champion Banks Braves 25-14, 20-25, 25-19, 25-23 to reach the championship round.
The Fishermen quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Cowgirls in the first set of the finals. However, the Cowgirls quickly settled down, scoring the next seven points to take control of the set.
“Astoria was so nervous at the start and we were able to take advantage of that,” Honl said.
Once again, Astoria quickly jumped out to a 2-0 lead at the start of the second set. The Fishermen still led 7-6 before Lindburg finally took control of the set. The senior scored the next four points with a pair of kills and a pair of blocks as the Cowgirls took a 10-7 lead. From there, the Cowgirls were able to open up a small lead as they went on to win the set 25-18.
However, the Fishermen didn’t go down without a fight. The third set was close throughout as Astoria led much of the way. When the Fishermen opened up a 14-10 lead midway through the set, Honl had finally seen enough and called timeout.
“We started to get frantic and Honl called a timeout and told us to calm down,” Lindburg said. “After that, we regained our composure and started playing smarter and not so frantic and crazy.”
The Cowgirls finally tied the set 17-17. Still, the Fishermen weren’t done. Astoria battled back to take a 20-19 lead, and the set was still tied 22-22 before the Cowgirls scored the final three points of the match.
“Every year, we come into the tournament and drop a set,” Lindburg said. “One of our goals was to not let that happen this year and not dropping a set was pretty fantastic. I just want to say thank you to all my coaches. We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Lindburg finished with a match-high 18 kills and five blocks, earning her player of the match honors.
Troutman was also outstanding, adding 16 kills and 14 digs, while Karlee Hollis had her best match of the tournament, finishing with six kills.
“I think we kept our head held high throughout the entire tournament,” Troutman said. “We knew that we had to push to our limit to take every set and we really thought that we couldn’t lose a set. So we just fought hard all the way to the end.”
“I feel like we earned it,” Hollis added. “We really had to be a team and come together and mesh. There were some other games in the season when we played like individuals, but I think at the tournament we played like a whole.”
Fraser also came up big in the match, going 22-22 from the service line with an ace while Apperson went 17-17 with six aces.
“It just feels awesome to do it with this team,” Apperson said. “We’ve come through so much together and this was just one more goal.”
Fraser was also pleased with the team’s performance.
“It’s awesome,” she said. “I’m ecstatic. Tonight, I think we came out a little nervous and then our butterflies went away and we just pounded it.”
Honl was especially pleased with the composure the team showed in the championship match.
“They are used to doing it,” Honl said. “They are calm and cool and they visualize themselves always winning. They just don’t make mistakes at the end and they find a way to get it done.”
Honl added that she has never had a team make so much progress in a year.
“This was probably my least-ready team at the start of the season,” she said. “But at the end, they were the most ready. They were the most mindful team I have ever coached. They tried to get better every day — every single day.”
“We just really wanted this,” Hamilton added. “Everybody makes mistakes and you just have to learn from them — get over it and fix the mistakes. And that’s what we did. It just feels amazing.”