GARDEN CITY – The streak is over. Thankfully.
The Barton Community College volleyball team put an end to a distracting losing skid Wednesday night at Garden City. Barton snapped the 15-match streak with a Jayhawk West win at Garden in five sets.
The Cougars left town with a 25-15, 19-25, 21-25, 25-20, 15-8 win – the first win in nearly a month as Barton worked through a tough stretch of the schedule.
“This was a really big and important win for our team,” Barton coach Phil Shoemaker said. “Obviously, it could have gone either way.”
Barton cruised to a win in the opening set but lost the next two sets and faced elimination as the fourth set began.
“We started the match pretty well, keeping enough pressure on them that they made errors in the first set, which led to our victory,” coach Shoemaker said. “In sets two and three we were timid, and Garden City applied more pressure.
“Their success was our failure to compete effectively, we lost our composure, and basically threw many of the skills and tactics that we practice out the window.”
Barton, however, wasn’t going to let another one get away. The Cougars rallied to take the fourth set fairly easily at 25-20 then closed out the fifth and final set strong for the 15-9 win.
“Sets four and five were much more controlled for us, and Jordan Edelman, and Olivia Naccarato really stepped up offensively, and we came up with a couple huge blocks,” Shoemaker said.
Edelman and Naccarato had big games indeed with Naccarato leading the way with 17 kills. Edelman added 12 kills to just one error for a .440 hitting percentage.
Lydia Konrade had a big defensive night with 29 digs. Nathalia Gouveia added 12 digs as four Cougars reached double digits in digs during the five-set affair. Mallory McQueen had 43 assists and 10 digs.
Deterding, Konrade, and Gouveia each had three service aces for Barton.
“Lydia had a big night with 29 digs,” coach Shoemaker said. “The defensive changes we have made recently have helped with her ability to contribute more successfully, and our serving game was better.
“I believe this was our first match this season to have more aces than errors. The aces we don’t care about as much, since we do not have direct control over that outcome, but reducing our errors is something we control, and was a significant factor.”
The Cougars will look to string together wins when Cloud County visits the Barton Gym Saturday. Barton lost in straight sets to the Thunderbirds earlier this year at Concordia. Start time is set for 2 p.m.
“We still have not found a comfortable offensive and defensive rhythm, but I feel we might be getting closer,” Shoemaker said. “I am constantly reminded of our athlete’s youth, inexperience, and immaturity. Those are all normal challenges, and we are improving.
“When I figure out a way to turn up our competitive flame we will make our next big jump. We are working hard on all these things, and this victory helps.”
The lone non-Jayhawk West game left on the slate will be Monday when East School Highland visits the Barton Gym at 6:30 p.m.