On the heels of one of its biggest wins in several years, the Barton volleyball team was ripe for a letdown.
Not to worry.
After knocking off No. 20 Hutchinson Saturday afternoon at the Barton Gym, it was off to Concordia for another Jayhawk Conference battle with foe Cloud County. A team it had beaten earlier this year.
It took four sets but Barton left Arley Bryant Gym with its third straight win. The Cougars knocked off the Thunderbirds, 25-17, 22-25, 25-15, 25-19.
“I was not really concerned about a letdown, we just wanted to make sure our mental focus was there,” Coach Brandon Stephenson said. “We wanted of focus on putting sets together. I knew the girls would come ready to play we just wanted to make sure to keep everything in check.”
With the win the Cougars kept pace among the leaders in the conference with a 5-2 mark. Barton is 16-4 overall. Cloud dropped to 3-3 in the conference and 9-9 overall.
Hutch still leads the Jayhawk at 6-1 with Colby and Seward County on its heels at 5-1.
Wednesday night at Cloud, the Cougars showed no ill effects of a letdown. Barton bolted out to a 15-6 lead in the opening set and maintained a lead of at least five points the rest of the set on the way to the 25-17 win.
Barton had its chances to take a 2-0 lead in sets but the Thunderbirds battled back from a 7-1 deficit and used a 5-0 run late in the set to take the lead in a 25-22 win over the Cougars.
That would be the last threat the T-Birds had in them.
Barton took an early lead in the third set and was in control the entire way for the 25-15 win. In the final set Barton pulled in front midway through the set and rode a Nathalia Gouveia kill and back-to-back Olivia Naccarato blocks to put the match away.
Gouveia led the attacking with 13 kills as three Cougars reached double figures in kills. Monique Oliveira added 11 and Naccarato 10.
It was a double-double night for Gouveia as she added 11 digs. Lydia Konrade matched her with 11. Carolina Goncalves led the Cougars with 39 assists.
Naccarato also posted a double-double with a dominate 10 blocks as the Cougars controlled the net. Averie Warehime added six blacks and Kelsie Antcliff five.
“Net play has been a concern for us,” Coach Stephenson said. “We want to be the number one team in the nation at the net. Our play has slowly been getting better and better. We are gaining consistency. These girls are on a mission and take it personally.”
It will be another big Saturday afternoon at the Barton Gym as Seward pays a visit for a key Jayhawk match with the Cougars.
Seward has not lost in the conference since an opening setback to Hutchinson, winning its past five Jayhawk matches. In fact the Saints have won 15 straight sets in the conference after being swept by Hutch and losing the first set to Butler.
“We see where we are and we know there are going to be certain times in the season we are going to have to be really focused,” Coach Stephenson said. “We know each time we win, the next win is going to be harder and harder.
“We know the better we play we are going to have a bullseye on or back. They just need to make sure they bring their best game every single time out as a team.”
First serve is set for 2 pm.