Being close only counts in a few sports and unfortunately for the Barton Community College volleyball team, close doesn’t account for wins in volleyball as the Cougars dropped four matches this weekend at the Pizza Hut Invitational hosted by Northeastern Junior College in Sterling, CO. The losses drop Barton to a deceiving 2-12 on the season as the Cougars continue to battle strong competition in the non-conference portions of the schedule. Barton returns to conference play on Wednesday as the 1-3 Cougars travel to Dodge City, Kansas, for a 6:30 p.m. match against the 0-3 and 4-11 Dodge City Community College Conquistadors. Barton began play on Friday with two matches, the first coming against Northwest College. In a tight first two sets, Barton took a 2-0 match lead getting identical 25-23 set wins. The Trappers awakened and easily took the next two sets 25-10 and 25-10 to set up a decisive fifth set. Recovering from blowing the two set lead, the Cougars appeared to be in great position leading 8-6 but Northwest outscored Barton down the stretch for a 15-13 win. Two hours later Barton returned to the hard court to wrap up first day action with the daunting task of taking on No. 19 Casper College. After dropping the first set 25-14, the Cougars evened the match with a 25-21 win. The Thunderbirds flexed their muscles in the third with a decisive 25-9 win then held off the Cougars in the fourth for a narrow 25-23 win. With two tough matches behind them from the first day of competition, the Cougars began Saturday’s action going against the host Plainsmen who dispatched fellow Jayhawk member Seward County Community College in three straight sets the day prior. NJC took the first set 25-18 but Barton rallied in the second set holding off a late Plainsman rally to hold on for a 27-25 win to even the match. Trailing throughout the third, Barton was unable to string a big enough rally together and fell 25-17. With their back to the wall, the Cougars got off to a good start in the fourth then used a 6-1 run to open up a comfortable 17-10 lead. NJC wouldn’t lie down easily though pecking away at the lead, drawing to within 21-19, but Barton held off the rally to win 25-23 to force a fifth set. Playing their third five-set match in their last three matches, the Cougars held a slim 8-7 lead at the changeover. NJC put up three straight points only to have Barton respond with three of their own to grab an 11-10 lead. Following a NJC timeout, the Plainsman regained the lead with two straight but again the Cougars matched NJC and took a 13-12 lead. NJC slowed the Cougar momentum with a timeout then promptly tied the contest before a controversial touch call took the Plainsman to match point where they completed the 3-0 run to win 15-13 and capture the match. Hoping to wrap up the weekend action with a win, the Cougars took the first set against Sheridan College 25-23. But that was all Barton could muster the rest of the way as the Generals took the match with consecutive 25-23, 25-21, and 25-20 set wins.