Rallying from big deficits in two of the three sets Wednesday night at the Barton Gym, the Barton Community College volleyball team swept Butler Community College 25-16, 25-22, and 26-24. The victories improve the Cougars to 2-1 in Jayhawk play and 9-3 overall while keeping Butler winless in conference play at 0-4 dropping to 4-5 on the season. Barton will load the bus early Thursday morning heading to Odessa, Texas, for a four-match weekend beginning on Friday in the Odessa College Tournament. The Cougars get back to conference action on Monday taking Colby Community College in a 6:30 p.m. first serve at the Barton Gym.
"This was another hard fought Jayhawk match," said Head Coach Brandon Stephenson. "We really had to refocus on fundamentals and stick together as a team to grind this one out. There's still a lot of work to do, but it's sure nice to start off this tough stretch of games with a win."
The Cougars shook off the early rust getting two Olivia Naccarato ace serves and a Nathalia Gouveia kill to gain a 13-9 early advantage. Building the lead to six, Barton then responded to three straight Grizzly points winning the next six capped by Kelsie Antcliff's kill off the Butler block extending the lead to eight. From there the teams traded points allowing Barton to cruise to a nine-point victory.
The second set however was a flip-flop of momentum as Butler seized an early six point advantage forcing Coach Stephenson to call an uncharacteristic quick timeout. The coach's briefing did little to slow down the Grizzlies quickly expanding the lead out to ten twice, the last coming at 16-6.
Winning seven of the next eight points, Barton clawed back into it as Gouveia punished a Grizzly over hit forcing Butler to use a timeout as the lead shrank to 16-12. Chipping away, the Cougars scored the next six of seven to tie it up at twenty before hammering home two points firing up the raucous Barton fans and forcing the Grizzlies to burn their second timeout. Trading points out of the timeout, Gouveia put the final nail in the set drilling a cross court kill for the 25-22 win.
The third began much like the second, Barton coming out sloppy on service receive and Butler owning the net. Another early Barton timeout did little to slow the momentum as the Grizzlies methodically built another large lead, this time a seven point advantage at 17-10. Again the Cougars clawed back and identical to the second, the big surge began at the 19-14 mark.
Taking seven of the next nine, Naccarato's devastating serve sent the Grizzlies on their heels with a service ace providing the tying mark at 21-all. Butler responded from its timeout with two straight only to have the Cougars respond with two of their own to knot things up before Butler grabbed the next one for set point at 24-23. Insert Gouveia and Monique Oliveira with two critical kills to reverse the tide followed by a Butler misplay capped the Cougars three-point run to seal the match 26-24.
"It was good to see the girls focus one point at a time instead of focusing on the deficit we were in," said Stephenson. "Matches like this shows us what we can do and what we have to do every night in conference play."
Gouveia, who was awarded Tuesday as the Jayhawk Division I Defensive Player of the Week, led the Cougars with seventeen kills while posting her sixth double-double of the season adding ten digs to go along with two of the Cougars' eight service aces. Oliveira also posted a double-double night, her fourth of the season in hammering twelve kills and thirteen digs with three blocks. Carolina Goncalves also had a solid night with two aces, two blocks, and thirty assists in setting up the offense. Naccarato, who led the team with four aces, knocked down six kills on a .417 efficiency while Averie Warehime was in on four of the Cougars twelve blocks to go along with five kills. Lydia Konrade led the fifty-four dig night with twenty.