=The Barton Community College volleyball team’s rally fell short Wednesday night at the Power Plant in El Dorado as the Cougars lost 3-2 at Butler Community College. The Grizzlies took the first and third set 25-16 and 25-20, with the Cougars rallying to take the second and fourth 25-14 and 25-19 forcing a decisive fifth. Unfortunately for the Cougars, consecutive late errors provided the doom on the short end of a 15-13 decision. The loss sends Barton to its third straight defeat dropping to 5-6 overall and 2-2 in conference play while Butler picks up their first conference victory improving to 1-2 and 3-8 on the season. Next up for the Cougars will be a tough weekend trip to Sterling, Colorado, for the Pizza Hut Invitational featuring two top four opponents and two receiving national poll considerations.
Butler jumped out to a 7-2 lead and with Cougars only able to draw within three at 17-14, the Grizzlies responded with the next two points cruising on to the 25-16 first set win.
The second set was role reversal as Barton jumped out to an early four-point lead building it out to an eight point 18-10 margin burning Butler’s second timeout. The Grizzlies two point spurt was quickly distinguished as the Cougars responded with two of their own and five of the next seven to win 25-14.
Eleven ties made for an exciting third set with Barton assuming command after three straight points to grab a 16-13 lead. Following a Butler timeout, the Cougars stretched the lead to four only to have the Grizzlies score four straight of their own forcing a Barton timeout all knotted up at seventeen. Butler then took the lead only to have Barton string two of their own reclaim the lead for the last time as the Grizzlies roared back with four straight to outscore the Cougars 3-1 down the stretch winning 25-20.
With their back to the wall Barton used a 6-1 stretch to build an 11-6 fourth set lead. A big time save by Emily Deterding set up an eventual Hannah Beam kill forcing Butler to use their remaining timeout as Barton stretched the lead out to 15-8. Back came the Grizzlies with four straight and after a Barton timeout, cut the deficit to three. A Deterding kill stopped the five point stretch and following an Olivia Naccarato ace serve and Deterding winning another point at the net, the Barton lead grew back out to six. The teams would battle point-for-point the rest of the way with Hannah Beam’s cross court kill capping the 25-19 win to force the decisive fifth set.
Big momentum swings highlighted the fifth with Butler getting things going striking for the first two points. Four straight from the Cougars was met with three from Grizzlies before Barton seemed to have regained the momentum with four straight and a 9-7 lead. Despite three unanswered from Butler, Barton responded with three of their own to lead 12-10. The Grizzlies fought back to tie it back up but turned the lead back over to Barton on a service error. The Cougars returned the favor on the service then couldn’t handle the next service return suddenly giving Butler match point. The Cougars couldn’t respond with much of an offensive attack and Maddison Britton’s kill ensured Barton wouldn’t have another chance.
Sophomore Jordan Edelman led the Cougars with a career high eleven kills while Naccarato recorded ten assisted blocks. Lydia Konrade and Mallory McQueen led with fourteen and twelve digs respectively, and in running the 6-2 offense for the first time this season, McQueen led with eighteen assists while Kristen McPherson put up twelve.
Barton begins play Friday at 7:00 p.m. in the Pizza Hut Invitational taking on Casper College, a team who received votes in the national poll to open the season, before taking on the host and national receiving national votes Northeastern Junior College at 9:00 p.m. Saturday the Cougars will face No. 2 ranked Northwest College at 12:00 p.m. before wrapping up the weekend with a 4:00 p.m. first serve against No. 4 Western Nebraska Community College.