Two things were accomplished Monday night for the Barton volleyball team.
First and foremost, the Cougars snagged a bit of redemption from a loss earlier in the season. Secondly, the Cougars notched their 20th win of the season – the first 20-win season since 2011.
Barton accomplished both of those with a sweep of Dodge City in Jayhawk Conference action. The Cougars had very little trouble winning at the Barton Gym, posting a 25-14, 25-16, 25-19 victory.
The win improves Barton to 7-3 in the Jayhawk and 20-5 overall on the season. Dodge City fell to 3-6 in the conference and 14-10 overall.
Colby continues to lead the conference at 8-1 with Seward (7-2) and Hutchinson (6-2) on their heels. The Cougars are in fourth, two games clear of fifth place Cloud (4-5).
What is keeping the Cougars from being in that 2-loss second place pack was a loss back in August at Dodge City in a 5-set contest.
“When we played them earlier at their place, they came out with emotion and played hard,” Coach Brandon Stephenson said. “We were a team still trying to find our niche.”
This time at home there would be no 5-set battle as Barton took care of business from the outset.
“Now we are finding ourselves,” Coach Stephenson said. “Our girls know their roles. We had some good practices leading up to the match and even though some of our main offensive contributors didn’t have a great night they had good nights in other areas to contribute to the win.”
Wearing their pink jerseys for Dig Pink Night, the Cougars trailed 5-4 before a 4-0 run gave them a lead they would not lose on the way to the 25-14 win. In the second set, Barton scored the first five points and never trailed.
The third and final set was much more competitive. Dodge City took an early 5-3 lead. Barton answered with a 5-1 run to take a 9-6 advantage. Dodge battled back to tie it at 10-all and it wasn’t until 7-0 run to give Barton a 19-12 lead the Cougars finally had some breathing room.
Nathalia Gouveia led Barton with 17 kills with just two errors. Monique Oliveira added 11 kills with just one error. Olivia Naccarato had a big night as well with four services aces and five blocks.
Carolina Goncalves led the Cougars with 32 assists and Oliveira paced Barton with 12 digs.
“We are coming together,” Coach Stephenson said. “We are still not clicking on all cylinders. But when we do have those moments of not focusing, we can overcome them.”
Barton will now play three straight road matches – the first two of those conference matches. The Cougars travel to Towanda for a Friday match against Butler (3-6, 13-7) before heading to Colby Wednesday to battle the league-leading Trojans.
But Butler is not a team to look past. The Grizzlies have won three straight and eight of nine – mostly non-conference games. The match will be played at Circle High School in Towanda after flooding back in September forced the Grizzlies from their normal home venue at the Power Plant.
“Butler is a team that is playing well the past couple of weeks,” Coach Stephenson said. “They are finding their stride. Not being able to play on their home court and doing as well as they are says something about that team.”