It was a result not many saw coming. The Barton Community College volleyball team was coming off perhaps its best set of the season. The Cougars were winners of five straight. They were back at home to make it six against the Ottawa University junior varsity.
But something happened. The Ottawa JV came ready to play. The result was a win for Ottawa, 25-18, 19-25, 25-21, 25-18. The loss ended the Cougars 5-game win streak and dropped them to 5-4. The Braves improved to 2-1.
Ottawa brought one of the more experienced JV teams to the Barton Gym with a senior and five juniors taking part in the contest.
“Ottawa was a good opponent for us,” coach Phil Shoemaker said. “They were not your typical JV team. Three of their athletes were varsity starters a year ago and they were far more experienced athletes than most teams we face.”
“They were a good ball control team, and they handled out of system plays very well, something we must improve upon. They exposed our defensive weaknesses very well, again things we work on in practice, and now I believe our athletes will understand better, why we need to be much better at reading our opponents and anticipating their tactics more quickly,” he said.
The Braves let it be known early they were here to compete and win. Ottawa won the opening set 25-18. It appeared as if that served as a wake-up call for the Cougars. Barton came back and took the second set 25-19.
Tied at 1-all the third set would be pivotal. Barton jumped to an early 7-3 lead but Ottawa battled back to take the lead 14-13. The Braves would lead most of the set with Barton in striking distance but unable to retake the lead. Ottawa won the set 25-21.
In the fourth set Ottawa again jump to an early lead and maintained it throughout winning 25-18 to close out the match.
Nathalia Gouveia led Baton with 11 kills. Olivia Naccarato was again big at the net with 10 kills and six blocks. Gouveia had five service aces as well.
“I feel our middles; Brooke Joslyn and Olivia Naccarato had a very good match,” Shoemaker said. “We did enjoy a physical advantage and when we got the ball to them in good position. They did a really nice job and unfortunately we did not get the ball to them as much as we should have. Again, it was our difficulties in the defensive game. “
Mallory McQueen tallied 25 assists for the Cougars and added 10 digs. Gouveia led the Cougars with 14 digs and Emily Deterding 12. Lydia Konrade had 10.
Barton will be off until Monday when its heads to Pratt for Jayhawk West play. The Cougars will be at Butler on Wednesday for another West match this week before heading to Sterling, Colo. and the Pizza Hut Classic hosted by Northeastern Junior College over the weekend.
“It was a competitive match, and I am glad we got tested as we did,” coach Shoemaker said. “I believe it gave us lessons that will benefit us as we prepare for Pratt (Monday) and future KJCCC rivals.”