The Barton Community College volleyball team picked up a much needed win Thursday night as the Cougars took care of Trinidad State Junior College in straight sets 25-16, 25-18, and 25-16. Snapping a two game conference slide, the Cougars controlled the Trojans for most of the night utilizing rotations throughout the roster improving to 5-2 on the season while sending Trinidad State to 3-4. Both teams will return to the Barton Gym for Friday and Saturday's Barton Classic with the Trojans beginning play at 11:00 a.m. versus Vernon College while Barton takes on Lamar Community College at 1:00 p.m.
The so-called second wave of Cougars which included freshmen Kailey Harris, Beth Schulte, Kate Deterding, Ariana Taylor, and Kaila Harris joined sophomore setter Carolina Goncalves in making the first set start taking early command with a pair of four point spurts to open up a six point lead. The group kept the hammer down on the Trojans increasing the lead to as much as eight before later closing the set on a 6-0 run for the nine point victory.
"The freshman have brought a different level of spark and enthusiasm to our lineup," said Head Coach Brandon Stephenson. "From what I've seen from them in our past two matches, they earned the right to start and set the tone for the night."
Inserting the "normal" starting lineup for the second set, the Cougars grabbed the first four points but were answered by the Trojans' own four point spurt to tie it up. After Barton went back ahead by two, Trinidad put together its second four point stretch to grab and hold the lead until Barton managed to regain the advantage behind two Monique Oliveira attacks. The Trojans grabbed the next point to tie at thirteen but Barton took command with four straight never allowing the gap to get any closer than three and taking four of the last five points to win 25-18.
Working in additional freshman for the third set, Caylee Irving sparked the Cougars early as Barton built a 9-5 lead. The Trojans closed to within two but Kailey Harris answered with a kill and closed out a four point spurt with a service ace to push the lead out to six. As Trinidad State was only able to compile solo points, the Cougars were increasing their lead stringing a pair of points on their way to matching the first set's winning margin.
"We made improvements in some areas but need to keep improving especially in a few areas," Stephenson said. "We were aggressive at times but too passive at other times. We'll keep getting better through the process as the season goes on."
Admission to watch the Cougars and other participants in the weekend's Classic is free for the public. Live streaming and complete Classic coverage can also be found throughout the weekend at www.BartonSports.com.