SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb — The light at the end of the tunnel is getting closer and it can’t come soon enough for the Barton Community College women’s volleyball team.
The long, grueling road trip for the Lady Cougars is just about over.
It will come to an end tonight when they travel to El Dorado to take on Butler.
The last long weekend concluded at the Wyo-Braska Tournament this past weekend where Barton took on four tough opponents and left with a 0-4 mark. But, as had been the case on numerous occasions, the Lady Cougars took very good teams to the limit but came up just short.
The combined record of the four teams Barton took on over the weekend currently stands at 62-16. Those same four teams went 15-2 during the event.
“Another very up and down weekend,” Barton head coach Phil Shoemaker said. “We played very good competition and we had a legitimate shot at winning three of four matches.”
The Lady Cougars opened Friday with a loss to Laramie County (Wyoming) in five sets before getting swept by the fifth-ranked team in NJCAA Western Nebraska in Scottsbluff, Neb.
Saturday Barton lost another five-set thriller to Central Wyoming and ended the weekend with a loss to Sheridan (Wyoming) College in four sets in Torrington, Wyo.
“We were overmatched against Western Nebraska, but as you can tell from the scores and stats the other matches were winnable, but we again came up short,” Shoemaker said.
The Lady Cougars and Golden Eagles (18-4) of Laramie County started things off with high intensity as the teams split the first four sets. Barton opened with a 25-23 win then Laramie won the next two 25-22 and 25-19. The Lady Cougars forced a fifth set with a 25-23 win, but fell 15-12 in the deciding set.
Freshman Emily Deterding led the hitting as the Smoky Valley High graduate pounded out 10 kills to pace a balanced attack.
Jennica O’Neill had three service aces to lead Barton and added 16 digs.
Mykela Riedl, a sophomore from Hoisington, led Barton with 21 digs.
Jenna Reid had a pair of blocks to pace the Lady Cougars. Casey Friesen and Abigayle Rziha had 17 and 15 assists for the Lady Cougars.
Things didn’t go as well against a very powerful Western Nebraska (14-3) club as Barton was swept 25-15, 25-17 and 25-14.
Barton collected just 25 kills in the match led by five from freshman Kim Hockley and Larned sophomore Tahje Ochs.
Rziha led the Lady Cougars with 10 assists and O’Neill had nine digs.
Barton once again started Saturday locked in a hard-fought battle. The two clubs traded set wins through the first four as Central Wyoming won the first and third sets and Barton won the second and fourth. But the Rustlers came away with a win in the final set by a 15-13 count to give Central Wyoming (16-4) a 25-14, 19-25, 28-26, 22-25, 15-13 win. The Rustlers later swept through Seward County 3-0 and went a perfect 4-0 on the weekend.
Hockley paced the Barton hitting attack with 16 kills followed by Ochs and Deterding with 12 and 10.
Friesen and Rziha had 32 and 18 assists for Barton. Four different Lady Cougars recorded double digit digs led by O’Neill and Ochs with 24 and 20. Jordan Edelman and Reid paced Barton with six blocks.
Barton closed out play with a loss to Sheridan College 25-22, 19-25, 25-19, 25-19. The Generals (14-5) went 3-1 on the weekend, losing only to Western Nebraska.
Ochs continued her good weekend with 14 kills while Friesen and Rziha again paced Barton with 22 and 19 assists. Riedl had three service aces in the loss and led the Lady Cougars with 15 digs followed by O’Neill with 13. Hockley had five blocks and Reid four.
“Every player had her moments, and on the weekend we got stronger performances from Jenna Reid, Tahje Ochs, Jordyn Edelman, and Kim Hockley,” Shoemaker said. “We continue to be plagued with errors. Too many and at the wrong times.
“We are going to continue to work hard, and are looking forward to our match at Butler and back at home on Wednesday against Marshalltown.”
Indeed. After traveling to the Butler tonight, the Cougars (3-16) finally step back onto its home floor for the first time in 21 days when Marshalltown (Iowa) pays a visit to the Cougar Gym.