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Cougars come up short in 5-set battle at Butler
Cougars fall in five sets to Butler.

EL DORADO – It went down the wire at the Power Plant Wednesday night. Unfortunately for the Barton Community College volleyball team, the wire was not kind.

Barton wasn’t able to make the big play down the stretch as Butler scored the final three points of the match for the Jayhawk West win. Butler won 25-16, 14-25, 25-20, 19-25, 15-13.

“Tough road loss,” coach Phil Shoemaker said. “When you enter the opponent’s gym you had better be prepared to outperform them by more than just a couple points. There are too many ‘other’ factors involved to leave anything to chance or to play with anything less than a combative mentality.”

Barton levels is conference record at 2-2 while dropping to 5-6 overall. For Butler is was its first conference win of the season, now 1-2 and 3-8.

The Grizzlies seized the first set early, jumping to a 14-9 lead and coasting to the 25-16 win. Barton did likewise in the second set, jumping out 5-1 and cruising to the 25-14 win.

The third set was a pivotal set in the match. Butler took an early lead but Barton battled back to tie it at 10-all and the see-saw affair was on – that is until Barton held a 19-18 lead. From there it was all Grizzlies as they outscored Barton 7-1 down the stretch to the set 25-20.

Barton responded and took control of the fourth set fairly early with a 6-1 run to take an 11-6 lead. It eventually grew to 18-10 before a slight rally by Butler cut the lead to four. Barton regained the momentum and closed out the fourth set with the 25-19 win.

That set up a wild deciding fifth set. The lead changed hands seven times and no one led by more than two the entire set.

Butler was the first to take the lead at 2-0 but four straight gave Barton a 4-2 lead. Back came Butler with three straight for a 5-4 lead the Grizzlies pushed to 7-5.

Barton responded with the next four points for a 9-7 lead then Butler scored three straight for a 10-9 advantage. Barton scored the next three and looked in good shape with a 12-10 lead.

But back-to-back errors allowed Butler to tie the game at 12-all. Then it was Butler’s turn for an error – a service error – that allowed Barton to inch closer to the win at 13-12.

Barton followed with a service error of its own and then a receiving error to give the Grizzlies match point. Butler took advantage with a kill to win the match.

“I feel like for the most part our effort was strong, and pretty united,” Shoemaker said. “We performed our best when we kept strong offensive pressure on Butler. This is dependent upon the quality of our serve-receive passing and defense.

“When we failed to get aggressive attack opportunities we gave the advantage to Butler and in the end that was the difference. We continue to commit too many errors of nonaggression… we must continue to improve in our ability to ‘play to win’ aggressively and intelligently.”

Olivia Naccarato had another monster game at the net with 10 blocks. She added three service aces also.

Jordan Edelman also had a good night with 11 kills and five blocks. Emily Deterding added eight kills and Hannah Beam five.

Mallory McQueen had 18 assists and Kristen McPherson added 12. Lydia Konrade led Barton with 14 digs and McQueen 12.

Things don’t get easier for the Cougars as they travel to Sterling, Colo. for the Pizza Hut Invitational at Northeastern Junior College this weekend.

“There is no question that these athletes want to win, and perform well,” coach Shoemaker said. “The discipline, communication, effort, teamwork, and skill consistency required is something new to most of them, and their improvements are noticeable and I believe we can become a strong team.”