With just two playing dates remaining, Wednesday night had the opportunity to determine some close races in the Jayhawk Conference volleyball standings and seeding for the Region VI tournament.
It did to an extent, but as much as anything, it set up Friday as the day to make those determinations.
The Barton volleyball team is not in one of those races. The Cougars have clinched the No. 4 spot in the conference and the fourth seed in the upcoming Region VI tournament.
So the loss at Seward County in four sets did nothing to change their standing. Barton won the first set but the Saints took over from there. Seward won the battle, 22-25, 25-16, 25-17, 25-14.
It did keep the Saints in the run for a share of the conference title. Hutchinson clinched its share of the conference title Wednesday night with a big win over Colby and with it the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Region VI tournament.
Seward is now in a battle with Colby for the second and third seeds. Seward is 13-2 in the conference while Colby is 12-3. The two meet Friday in the regular season finale. Hutch is done at 14-2.
Barton fell to 9-6 with the loss and 22-9 overall. The Cougars first round opponent will be determined Friday as well when Dodge City travels to Cloud County. Both are 6-9 in the conference and the winner will be the No. 5 seed and travel to Barton to open the post season.
The Cougars looked good Wednesday to start the night. Barton used a 3-0 spurt to take a 15-12 lead and never trailed again in the opening set. Barton pushed the lead to 24-20 before winning 25-22.
Barton was in the second match early as well. The Cougars trailed just 14-13. Barton would score just three more points as Seward closed out the set on a 11-3 run.
The third set was similar. The teams were tied at 9-all when Seward went on a 5-0 run and were never threatened in the 25-17 win. In the final set, Seward jumped to an early before Barton rallied to cut the lead to 12-10. From there, the Cougars would score just four more points as the Saints finished the set and the match with a 25-14 win.
Olivia Naccarato and Nathalia Gouveia led the Cougars attack with nine kills each. Kelsie Antcliff added seven. Lydia Konrade finished with 11 digs and Leah Fisher 10.
Carolina Goncalves finished with 31 assists while Naccarato and Goncalves led Barton with three blocks apiece.
Barton will finish the regular season with a trip back to southwest Kansas to take on Garden City. Garden is just 2-13 in the Jayhawk and 6-25 overall.
First round playoff action will be at the Barton Gym on Tuesday, starting at 6:30 pm.