Returning to Jayhawk Conference play two days after an emotional home loss, the Barton Community College volleyball team discovered there are no days off in conference play as the Cougars took its second four-set loss falling 20-25, 25-21, 10-25, and 23-25 to Butler Community College tonight in El Dorado. The loss drops Barton to 0-2 to begin conference play and 4-2 on the season while Butler's conference opener improves the Grizzlies to 4-1 on the season.
"We have a long way to go," said Head Coach Brandon Stephenson. "Tonight was another eye opener for the ladies regarding the toughness of conference."
Barton's modest two point early lead was erased by the Grizzlies 5-0 run as the teams battled through a competitive first set. Calling a timeout to regroup, the Cougars put together a 4-0 run to get back into it but the Grizzlies stayed in front taking four of the last five points to take the opening set 25-20.
The Cougars jumped out early in the second, racing out to a 6-1 lead to force a Butler time out, growing the lead to 9-2 before a three point spurt burned the Grizzlies final timeout with a 13-5 lead. Barton maintained the lead midway through the set fighting off a Grizzly four point run, eventually tying the match with a 25-22 win.
Breaking an early 4-all tie in the third, kills by Beth Schulte and Monique Oliveira would be sandwiched between twin four point stretches for Butler as the Grizzlies would break open the set to a 12-6 lead. Even with the surge off the bench by Kate Deterding, Barton was able to draw back within three but from there Butler would dominate the set with a 5-0 run amidst a 12-1 closeout to sail away with the set 25-11.
Keeping the momentum into the final set, Butler raced out to a 12-3 lead and never looked back although the Cougars did make things interesting coming down the stretch. Beginning with a Schulte kill and mixing in a big Kailey Harris block, Barton's 5-0 run caused concern as Butler stopped the run with a timeout leading 22-16. Trading points and with Butler on match point at 24-17, the Cougars went back to work with four more points, then ignored the distraction of Butler's second timeout to tack on two more drawing to within one. However the comeback fell short as Barton was unable to get off an attack and Butler capitalized to seal the match with the 25-23 win.
"We need to continue to work on areas," Stephenson said. "It's going to be one of those seasons that is going to be a learning curve every match"
Barton has little time to rest as they continue their tough stretch of six matches in five days, continuing on Thursday hosting Trinidad State Junior College in a 6:30 p.m. tip at the Barton Gym. The Cougars will then host the weekend's Barton Classic with two matches each on Friday and Saturday, before winding up the stretch on Monday returning to conference play hosting Colby Community College.