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Barton stumbles at No. 20 Hutch in West volleyball
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The upset was not in the cards for the Barton volleyball team.
The Cougars made the trek to the Sports Arena in Hutchinson to take on the No. 20 Hutchinson Blue Dragons with hopes of pulling off the upset, but it wasn’t to be.
Hutchinson locked up the Jayhawk West title with a sweep of the Cougars. Hutch won 25-14, 25-16, 25-7 to secure the title and top seed in the upcoming Region VI tournament. The Blue Dragons are now 14-1 in the West with one match remaining and 27-8 overall.
“Hutch is an outstanding team,” Barton Coach Phil Shoemaker said. “It’s easy to see why they are so highly ranked. They are a tall, athletic, and technically talented team.”
Barton fell to 9-22 and 6-9. The Cougars still have one match left as well – at Seward County – but are locked into the sixth seed for the post season. That means an opening round game against either Cloud County or Colby.
The most likely opening round match will be at Concordia against Cloud County on Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Cougars never really gave the Blue Dragons a big reason for concern Tuesday. The biggest challenge came in the second set when Barton trailed just 16-13 before Hutch went on a 6-0 run to take the doubt out of that set.
“I thought we fought hard and played with a lot of energy in the first two sets, but getting through their block proved to be a major challenge for us,” Coach Shoemaker said. “When we were able to force them to put the ball in the hands of their secondary attackers we were successful. When they were able to get the ball to their primary attackers they were successful.”
The Blue Dragons scored nine straight early in the third set to grab a 17-4 lead. The West title was the fourth straight for Hutchinson.
“In sets one and two we had good energy and chemistry, but set three was a different story as we became discouraged, and came unglued a bit,” Coach Shoemaker said. “I was encouraged by our efforts in the first two sets, but obviously disappointed in the third.”
Emily Deterding led Barton with seven kills. Mallory McQueen had 11 assists and Lydia Konrade and McQueen each had eight digs.
“Playing well, and especially well enough to win, against a team with significant advantages is a tough challenge,” Coach Shoemaker said of playing Hutchinson. “I think we have learned and improved since we played them a few weeks ago, and I feel like we will continue to improve. With playoffs coming it would be nice to get one more shot at them.”