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Cougars drop conference opener to No. 18 Saints

Averie Warehime goes for an attack

Monday evening's action at the Barton Gym started out promising for the Barton Community College volleyball team before No. 18 ranked Seward County Community College unleashed its power for a four-set Jayhawk Conference opening victory 31-33, 25-12, 25-14, and 25-10. The loss is the first for the Cougars on the young season in slipping to 4-1 while Seward County improves to 5-0.

Barton will have a day's rest before a tough stretch of seven matches in six days, beginning with a Wednesday road trip to El Dorado for a 6:30 p.m. conference match against Butler Community College. The Cougars will then host three consecutive dates of matches starting on Thursday against Trinidad State Junior College and the weekend's Barton Classic, concluding the six day stretch on Monday hosting Colby Community College.

After a nearly hour and forty-five minute delay to start the match due to scheduling conflicts, a boisterous home crowd behind a large student contingent helped lift the Cougars to five point run in claiming a 15-12 lead. The Saints battled back taking four of the next five points to tie it up before late in the set going on a four point run putting Barton in a 22-19 hole. The Cougars responded with two straight then later starved off set point with a trio of points to grab the lead. The teams would continue to trade points amongst a deafening Barton crowd, with the Cougars scoring four of the last five points.

The first set was definitely the highlight of the night from a Barton standpoint as Seward County Head Coach Thais Baziquetto-Allen regrouped her squad and flipped a switch into total domination mode the rest of the match. The Saints owned the second including a 12-of-14 point stretch to tie the match with the 25-12 win, utilizing a 6-of-7 run in the third going to claim an eleven point third set, then put the nail in the coffin with a 9-0 spurt to bury the Cougars in a 25-10 match clincher.

Monique Oliveira was the workhorse for the Cougars posting her second double-double effort of the season with eleven kills while tying setter Carolina Goncalves with eleven digs. Goncalves put up twenty-four of the team's twenty-six assists on a night the team would post a season low .074 attack percentage.

On the flip-side of the net, the Saints came after the Cougars from all angles with four different players reaching double-digit kills as setter Giovanna Kuntze put up 53 assists in the squad's .240 attack percentage. Kuntze joined three others with double-double performances by adding ten digs on the night while Viviane Viana led in kills with fifteen.