The Barton Community College volleyball team played like a conference first team through the first two-thirds of each set Wednesday evening in Colby but couldn't finish off the Trojans of Colby Community College losing in four 25-22, 22-25, 20-25, and 21-25. The Cougars built late leads no less than four points in three of the four sets, holding on to win the opener but dropping a demoralizing second and third sets before again faltering late in the fourth to suffer the 3-1 defeat.
The loss does little to diminish the Cougars' reasonable hold on a top four conference standing at 8-4 with a full three game lead on at least the fourth spot with four remaining matches in the Jayhawk season. Meanwhile, the national receiving votes Trojans sit atop the conference standings and took another step forward in securing the top seed for the region tournament improving to 11-1 and 20-4 on the season.
Next up for the 21-6 Cougars is a Saturday trip to Division II No. 7 ranked Cowley College in a non-conference match. First serve set for 2:00 p.m. at the William S. Scott Gymnasium.
The Cougars started out on fire building an early five point lead only to have Colby claw back to draw within 13-12. Barton then started to pull away with three straight then coming out of a Colby timeout, rattled off four of the next five ballooning the lead out to 20-13. Back came the Trojans with three of their own and following an Olivia Naccarato kill, added two more to draw with two. Kills by Kelsie Antcliff and Naccarato extended the lead back out to five before an exchange of points put the Cougars at 24-19 set point. As if an indication of what would to follow on the night, Barton had trouble holding the lead with the Trojans fighting back with three straight but a Colby attack error would end the rally as the Cougars came away with the 25-22 win.
Having jumped on the Trojans for the first set victory in both meetings this season, for the second time the Cougars couldn't capitalize on the early advantage. Following seven early set ties the Cougars won four of five forcing a Colby timeout at 15-12. Barton would then extend the lead to 18-14 before the wheels fell off the Cougar wagon. Beginning with a service error, a questionable out call followed with five additional points totally flip flopped the set to a 21-18 Colby lead. Coming out of a timeout, Barton would respond with three straight to tie it up, but after an exchange of points, the Cougars would drop the final two points of the set including giving away a critical point at 22-23 due to a rotation error. All in all, the Cougars gave away two points on the rotation and another on a rare eight second serve violation.
Continuing the night's theme of getting up early, Barton blew out of the third set gates with seven straight to grab a 12-4 lead. Each team then rattled off three straight before Colby crept back into the set taking five of the next seven in trailing by four at 18-14. Trading points, Colby tied things up at 19 with four straight and despite a Barton timeout, scored four more as twice the Cougar defensive miscommunication led to a Trojan four point lead. Colby would then close out the set winning two of the last three taking a 2-1 match lead to the fourth.
Like the second set, the teams battled back and forth drawing even for the eighth time before a 4-0 stretch gave Colby the edge at 16-13. A Nathalia Gouveia kill in addition to a kill and block by Antcliff drew the Cougars to within one at 17-16. Colby answered with a three straight but again Gouveia helped bring Barton back with two kills on either side of a Carolina Goncalves attack. Another Trojan dink over the net ended the run and despite a Monique Oliveira thunderous kill, Colby's Aleksandra Malek answered the call with her own thunder leading to consecutive service aces to end the match.