With the regular season winding down to a close, the Barton Cougars are playing some pretty good volleyball.
Barton moved closer to locking up that fifth spot in the Jayhawk West as the Cougars get closer to the post season with a conference win over Cloud County at the Barton Gym Saturday afternoon.
The Cougars won 25-12, 25-17, 19-25, 25-20 over the Thunderbirds to improve to 6-7 in the West and 14-12 overall. Cloud is now 1-12 and 4-21.
For Barton, it has now won five of its last seven matches – all conference tilts.
Just three conference games remain for Barton in the regular season, starting Wednesday at West leader and No. 5 Seward County.
Saturday, Barton had very little trouble in capturing the first set and setting the tone for the win.
Trailing 7-5 in the opening set, Barton went on an 11-2 run and never looked back in more than doubling up the Thunderbirds. The Cougars finished off the set with a kill by Kelsie Antcliff.
Barton took an early lead in the second set but Cloud hung around, trailing just 18-16. At that point, the Cougars took over, outscoring Cloud 7-3 down the stretch for 2-0 set lead, capped by a service ace from Carolina Goncalves.
The Thunderbirds made things interesting in the third set, leading throughout for the 25-19, pushing the match to a fourth set.
In that fourth set, Barton was in control most of the way but the T-Birds cut the margin to a pair at 21-19.
The Cougars were able to close out the set on a 4-1 run as Monique Oliveira had three kills in the closing moments to secure the win.
Laine Conceicao continued her good play of late with a game-high 15 kills on 25 attempts. Oliveira added nine and Antcliff eight.
Goncalves had 23 assists and three service aces. Averie Warehime paced Barton with eight kills.
Barton will head to Liberal Wednesday in search of an upset of the No. 5 Saints. The Cougars step out of the conference play Saturday with a trip to Hesston to take on the Larks and Southeastern Community College of Nebraska.