The Barton Community College volleyball team's season came to an end Sunday at the Hutchinson Sports Arena as the Cougars lost in three sets to top seeded Hutchinson Community College. The Cougars lost the first 25-17 before owning sizable leads in both the second and third set before Blue Dragon rallies snatched the match victory 25-22 and 26-24. The loss ended Barton's bid for its twenty-third Region VI title finishing the season at 24-10 while Hutchinson advanced to the championship match losing in four sets second seeded Seward County Community College to end their season at 25-12.
Much like its trip to the Sports Arena back on October 19, the Cougars could never get in rhythm in the first set but hung around enough to be tied at eleven a piece. A quick three point Hutchinson run followed by a ball handling error coming out of the Cougars' timeout suddenly found Barton trailing by four. The Cougars would get the next point but Hutchinson would own the next four widening the lead out to seven at 19-12. A Blue Dragon serving error followed by a Monique Oliveira kill was the final multiple Barton points as Hutchinson would close out the set winning six of the next nine.
With a boisterous Barton student body rising up to support the Cougars, Barton took seven of eight points to open up a 13-9 lead in the second. Four straight on either side of a Barton timeout flipped the score with the Blue Dragons taking over the set leading 17-13. Trading the next points, Hutchinson put three more on board before a Cougar rally of four straight highlighted by Micaela Jellison off the bench with a big block and Olivia Naccarato slicing the defense with a service ace cut the deficit to 21-19. Halting the run with a point after a timeout, Hutchinson kept the Cougars from making the comeback despite Barton fighting off two set points in taking the two set lead with the 25-22 win.
In the win or go home set, a 7-0 Barton run erased an early two point deficit turning all the momentum to the visiting squad as Naccarato and Carolina Goncalves recorded consecutive solo blocks and Lydia Konrade putting down a service ace. Hutchinson cut the deficit back to four before the Cougars owned six of the next eight with Jellison throwing up another big block and Oliveira hammering a cross court kill widening the lead to eight at 18-10 prompting the Blue Dragons to burn their final timeout. Trading points the next six opportunities, two straight by Hutchinson ignited the home crowd with Coach Stephenson looking to halt the momentum using his first timeout with Barton's lead cut to 22-15.
The seven point lead would suddenly disappear as Barton's second timeout after five straight Hutchinson points did little to slow down the sudden resurgence as the Blue Dragons tacked on three more taking a 23-22 lead. The Cougars battled back to grab the next two for set point but a service error followed by a thunderous Nadine Cruz put the home team back in front, ending the match the following point completing a 13-3 run for the match victory.
Following their dominating sweep of third seeded Colby Community College (25-15, 25-22, 25-17), Seward County knocked off their fellow Jayhawk Conference Co-Champions 3-1 to win their first region championship and national bid since 2003. The Saints took the first two 27-25 and 25-23 before the host Blue Dragons won the last four points to steal the third 25-23. Jumping out to an early 6-1 lead, the Saints would never let Hutchinson back in the set rolling up the Blue Dragons 25-13 for the title.