The Barton Community College Volleyball team almost pulled off another upset Saturday afternoon at the Barton Gym but failed to protect a two match lead in falling in five sets to Cloud County Community College. With the bitter taste of a near upset having slipped away three days prior to Pratt Community College, the Cougars took a two set lead behind consecutive 26-24 wins. On the verge of sweeping and revenging a straight set loss to the T-Birds in September, Barton squandered a four point mid-set lead in the third to fall 25-23 and never recovered in dropping the next two 25-17 and 15-13. The loss drops Barton to 4-8 in conference play and 6-22 on the season while Cloud County won its fourth straight to stay in a three-way tie for second place in the Jayhawk standings at 8-4 and improving to 16-6 overall.
After digging a brief three point hole to begin the match, Barton scored eight of the next nine to lead by four. The Cougars increase the lead out to five multiple times including a 22-17 lead before the T-Birds fought back. Following a Cloud County timeout and a T-Bird point to slow momentum, Barton won four of the next five to set up set point. However the T-Birds wouldn’t go away scoring four consecutive to tie it up a 24 apiece. Barton held off the T-Bird rally to win the next two to take the 26-24 victory.
A similar start to the second, Barton built an 8-4 lead in part from the net play of Canadian duo Jessie Sewell and Kim Hockley and appeared to be running away with it outscoring Cloud County 9-3 to take a 18-10 lead. The T-Birds then scored four straight and despite a Sewell kill, rattled off another three to climb to within 19-17. Trading the next four points, Cloud County turned the tides recording five of the next six to take a 24-23 lead but the Cougars bounced back to take the next three to go up 2-0 in the match with another 26-24 win.
For the third consecutive set, Barton built another 8-4 lead and held an 11-7 advantage before the T-Birds called their first timeout. The T-Birds responded with three straight but Barton responded with four of the next five to build a 15-11 lead. With the Cougars going flat, Cloud County started to crank it up outscoring Barton 7-3 to tie the set up at 18. Trading the next four points, Cloud exploded with five straight then held off three Barton set points to win 25-23.
Barton got off to another good start in the fourth leading briefly 5-1 before Cloud County pecked away at the lead to tie it up at eight. After back and forth action, Cloud County broke open the set with an 8-1 run to take control at 21-14. The Cougars never recovered in the set as Cloud County would force a decisive fifth set with an anticlimactic 25-17 win.
Deadlocked at six following two straight by the T-Birds, a Barton timeout did little to slow the momentum as Cloud County continued to roll getting the next three to build a 9-6 lead. Following two points for each team, the Cougars battled back to tie it eleven and again at twelve, but the rest of the set was all Cloud County closing out the match with three straight to earn the 15-13 win.
Jenna Reid led the cougars with 14 kills with freshman Emily Deterding was close behind with 13 to go along with 11 digs to record her first collegiate double-double. Sewell, who championed through an injury the whole afternoon, followed her twenty-two kill night on Wednesday with an eleven kill effort on Saturday.
The setting duo of Casey Friesen and Lakyn Rowden again had double-double performances as Friesen put up 31 assists with 13 digs for her ninth double-double of the season while Rowden recorded her second straight and third this season with 19 assists to go along with 11 saves. Mykela Riedl led the team with 31 digs with Tahje Ochs getting 18 and Jennica O’Neill saving 11.
Midway through its four-match home stand, Barton will only have a day’s rest before taking the court again 6:30 p.m. Monday against Dodge City Community College. The Cougars dispatched the Conquistadors 3-0 in Dodge City earlier in the season but the improving Conquistadors will come to the Barton Gym seeking its first conference win of the season following a 0-12 start in the Jayhawk and a 4-27 overall record. The match will also be a homecoming for former Cougar Volleyball player Kamri Nehls as the 2012 alum returns to the Barton Gym as the assistant coach for the Conquistadors.
Barton will conclude its home portion of the schedule the following Friday in a 6:30 p.m. first serve against Butler Community College.