BY MIKE MARZOLF
Special to the Tribune
It was back to business for the Barton volleyball team Monday night. After dropping a pair of matches, including a non-conference match over the weekend, the Cougars righted the ship with an easy win over Pratt in Jayhawk Conference play.
Barton won the conference showdown, 25-20, 22-25, 25-20, 25-12 to clinch a home date in the upcoming Region VI playoffs.
The win secured a top four finish and that home spot. The Cougars are now 9-4 in the Jayhawk and 22-7 overall. Pratt falls to 1-11 and 8-26. Barton holds a 3-game lead over fifth place Cloud County with three games to play and has swept Cloud this year.
The match was also the final regular season home match for the Cougars. Six sophomores were recognized during Sophomore Night at the Barton Gym.
The first set was close in the early stages. The match was tied at 9-all when Barton began to take control. Barton reeled off three straight to take a 12-9 lead then increased it to 20-14 on the way to the win.
The second set had Barton leading much of the way, including 12-8. Barton still led 20-19 late in the match before the Beavers scored five straight to take a 24-20 lead on the way to winning the match.
In the all-important third set, Pratt opened up an 8-5 lead early to force the Cougars to call a time-out. Barton responded with 11 straight to take a 16-8 lead. Pratt wouldn’t go away. The Beaver cut the lead to 21-20 late in the match before a Monique Oliveira kill ended the Pratt run. Oliveira followed with a block and Barton had a 23-20 lead. A pair of Pratt errors gave Barton the 25-20 win.
The fourth set was never in doubt. Barton led 5-0, 12-4, and 18-6 on the way to the win.
Olivia Naccarato and Nathalia Gouveia led Barton with 12 kills while Oliveira added 11. Gouveia also had four blocks and 15 digs.
Carolina Goncalves finished with 31 assists while Kassi Gratton added 14 digs.
The Cougars will finish up the regular season with games against two teams ahead of them in the Jayhawk and one at the bottom of the conference.
That road starts tonight at Hutchinson with a 6:30 pm first serve. The Blue Dragons are 10-2 in the Jayhawk with one of those losses coming to Barton. Hutch is 19-11 overall.
Barton also has games at Seward (11-2, 20-9) and at Garden City (1-12, 5-23).