DODGE CITY – The Barton Community College volleyball team may be struggling outside the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference West division, but in conference Barton is still right in the mix early on.
The Lady Cougars picked up a road win at Dodge City on Wednesday in four sets to inch a game closer to .500.
Barton was only pushed in one of the sets – a loss in the third set – as the Lady Cougars won at Dodge City 25-18, 25-8, 26-28, 25-11 to move to 2-3 in the West and 3-13 overall.
“We won. Which for us, right now, is really, really important,” Barton head coach Phil Shoemaker said. “In general the team worked hard, and it was encouraging that we were able to get everyone in to the match.”
The Lady Cougars committed just nine total hitting errors through the opening two sets as they rolled through Conquistadors and appeared to be on the way to a conference road sweep. But Dodge City fought back in the third set before Barton steamrolled the Conqs in the fourth and final set by the 25-11 score.
“Every error that shows up on the stat sheet is a point for the bad guys, and on the season we have been giving away 10-plus points per set,” Shoemaker said. “The solution to this problem must be addressed on a number of fronts; physical, technical, tactical, psychological, and ALL must be addressed.
“Some can be remedied more quickly than others, but bottom line is we need to cut our errors in half to be a contending team. It will be our focus this weekend, and for the remainder of our season.”
Barton had a well-balance attack on the night as no one recorded more than eight kills but six players had at least five. Canadians Jenna Reid and Kim Hockley led the way with eight kills each – Reid on just two errors.
Jessie Sewell, also from Canada, added seven kills. Lindsborg freshman Emily Deterding and Larned sophomore Tahje Ochs each finished with six kills.
“We had some really nice contributions; Jenna Reid hit .429, which is very good by any measure,” Shoemaker said. “She is not a textbook attacker, but she is working to get more available, and offensive in her style. Tahje Ochs made a big contribution offensively with a .357 efficiency, and great energy too.”
Sophomore Casey Friesen had a good night serving for the Lady Cougars collecting five aces and also led the Lady Cougars with 19 assists. The Texan was also one of the top defenders during the match earning 12 digs.
Jennica O’Neill led Barton in that category with 16 digs and Hoisington sophomore Mykela Riedl added 11.
Kylie Jones, a freshman from Rexford, led Barton with six blocks.
“Our serving was pretty effective with 11 aces,” Shoemaker said. “Our block was productive (3 per set, which is very good), our best of the season, and we got more contributions defensively than we have been getting. Last week we made a couple adjustments, and they may be paying off.
“I do not want to sound like too much of a ‘negative Ned’ here because everyone is making progress, especially our freshmen, who are contributing at a much better level, and will continue to grow. I think we have a core system, and lineup that will remain intact, so that should contribute to our overall stability. Our leadership, work ethic and commitment to win are all positives as well.”
Barton is back on the weekend in another tough non-conference event when the Lady Cougars travel to Scottsbluff, Neb and Torrington, Wyo. for the Wyo-Braska ShootOut. The four teams Barton will battle have a combined record of 47-14 headlined by No. 5 Western Nebraska.