The Barton Community College volleyball team departed the bus Wednesday night in Concordia on a mission to forget about its Saturday sweep over then No. 20 ranked Hutchinson and keep the momentum rolling. The Cougars did just that in silencing the Cloud County Community College home crowd jumping on early leads and keeping the throttle planted in a four set 25-17, 22-25, 25-15, and 25-19 victory. The third straight win keeps Barton in sole possession of fourth and one game behind the leaders at 5-2 and 16-4 on the season while dropping to Cloud County to 3-3 in the Jayhawk and 9-9 on the season. Looming on the schedule next for the Cougars will be a pivotal Saturday matchup at the Barton Gym against conference front-runner Seward County Community College. First serve against the 5-1 and 13-5 Saints slated for 2:00 p.m.
The Cougars had a solid start to the evening scoring the first three points racing out to an 8-3 lead. A Cloud County timeout slowed the momentum only slightly as the teams traded a pair of points before a 6-of-7 point stretch blew open the set 15-6 forcing another T-bird timeout.
The T-birds would respond this time out of the timeout putting together a pair of three point runs to get back in the match at 19-14. The Barton lead remained at five at 21-16 but Nathalia Gouveia and Olivia Naccarato kills ended the match as the Cougars took 4-of-the-last-5 points to win the first set.
Barton again started out strong with the first four points prompting a T-bird timeout in a 7-1 deficit. After the Cougars stretched the lead to seven coming out of the timeout, Cloud County played inspired going on two four-point runs sandwiched on either side of Barton's three straight to close within 12-9. The T-birds continued the surge and in a 5-of-6 spurt, grabbed a 17-15 lead prompting Barton to call its first and only timeout of the match.
The Cougars re-seized the lead with three straight only to have Cloud County rattle off five straight to regain command. Barton gave it one last surge drawing to within one after a Naccarato service ace but after the teams traded errors from the service line, the T-birds closed out the remaining two points to even the match with the 25-22 win.
Fast starts were key for Barton throughout the four set victory and again the Cougars built an early lead forcing a Cloud County third set timeout at 9-4. Consecutive kills by Naccarato and Gouveia increased the lead to eight riding to an eventual 18-12 lead and the burning of the final T-bird timeout. With Lydia Konrade flying around the court making clutch digs and Averie Warehime providing a 1-2 punch with Naccarato in the middle on the rotations, Barton increased the lead to ten with four straight. Carolina Goncalves then stuck the dagger in the T-birds with a sneak attack from the setting position giving Barton set point before settling for a 25-15 win.
Unlike the first three sets, the teams went point for point early on until a three point Barton run opened up a 14-9 lead. The Cougars kept the T-birds at bay through the middle part of the set until Warehime's rejection at the net took Cloud County's last timeout of the match. Despite the lead being cut to three, Barton got a thunderous kill from Gouveia before Naccarato accounted for two blocks to end the match at 25-19.