The Barton Community College Volleyball team buried itself in early deficits Wednesday night in Liberal to fall in straight sets at Seward County Community College 25-14, 25-19, and 25-20. The Cougars were outscored 30-13 in the combined three sets’ race to ten points leading to Barton having to battle from behind all evening. The fourth straight loss drops Barton to 3-6 in conference play and 5-20 overall while Seward County solidifies their standing in the top four of the Jayhawk improving to 6-4 and 18-12 overall.
“We had implemented some changes this week to help improve our offense, but between the defensive difficulties, ineffective communication, and some lineup changes we never really got going,” said Head Coach Phil Shoemaker. “We were without Kim Hockley and Emily Deterding tonight but sometimes that happens and we need to be able to respond effectively.”
Trailing 4-1 in the first set, the Cougars battled back to tie it up at six. Calling timeout after Seward scored four straight, Barton was unable to slow the Saints from getting the next three points increasing the lead out to 13-6. Barton cut the lead back to six but a 3-0 run in midst of a 7-2 stretch widened the Saints lead to eleven points on the way to Seward’s 25-14 first set win.
The Saints broke open the second set early outscoring the Cougars 8-1 to build an 11-3 lead. Following a pair of points by Barton, the teams traded four point runs until the Cougars put together three straight capped by a Jessie Sewell kill to cut the deficit to 16-12. It was as close as Barton would come as the Saints scored six consecutive to blow open the set and go on to win 25-19.
Needing a better start in the third to stay alive in the match, Barton trailed 3-0 managing to draw within two twice before four straight by the Saints opened up a 10-4 lead. The teams then traded three-point runs until another three point run allowed Barton to get back into the match at 13-10. Responding to the sudden Barton surge, Seward scored seven of the next eight to prompt a Barton timeout as the spread increased to 20-11. After trading points, three straight by Seward put the Saints in position to close out the match but Barton refused to go down quietly scoring seven straight before falling 25-20.
“We did manage a couple of nice rallies but in both cases it was extremely difficult due to the large deficit we were in,” Shoemaker said. “Seward is a good aggressive team. We did not pass block or defend with the efficiency needed to mount a successful counter attack. Beyond that our chemistry as a team was pretty poor which is certainly not a formula for success.”
Freshman Kylie Jones made the most of her playing time due to the absence of Hockley and Deterding, leading the Cougars with six kills on a .444 attack percentage to go along to tie Sewell and Jordan Edelman for team high honors with two assisted blocks. The two-headed setting tandem of Lakyn Rowden and Casey Friesen finished with eleven assists each while Mykela Riedl led in digs with eight.
Barton will look to get back into the win column on Saturday as the Cougars travel to Garden City, Kansas, for a 2:00 p.m. conference match against 8-16 Garden City Community College. Just ahead of the 3-7 Broncbusters in sixth place in the conference standings, the Cougars defeated Garden City 3-1 back on September 3 at the Barton Gym.