DODGE CITY — In its six wins to start the season, the Barton volleyball team had shown an ability to close out sets. With that came closing out matches.
Wednesday night at Dodge City the Cougars did not have that trait.
Seven times Barton was a single point from winning the Jayhawk match. Seven times the Cougars failed to seal the deal. The results was their first loss of the season.
Dodge City won the 5-set thriller, 27-29, 25-20, 25-21, 22-25, 21-19.
“We just didn’t close out the match,” Barton Coach Brandon Stephenson said. “It was good to play a 5-set match, we needed that, but it was tough to lose it. We had our chances to win.”
The loss dropped Barton to 6-1 on the season and an even 1-1 in the Jayhawk. Dodge City improved to 3-3 overall and is now 1-0 in the conference.
The opening set of the night was a great indicator of just how tight the match was going to be. The teams traded the lead with Baton playing from in front most of the way. The Cougars had a chance to close out the set, leading 24-21.
Barton had four opportunities to win the set but it wasn’t until the fifth set point the Cougars finally put the game away. Monique Oliveira ended the game with a hard kill. Barton also fought off two Dodge City set points in the win.
Dodge City led throughout the second set on the way to a 25-20 win. The third set was tight most of the way until the Conquistadors finished with a flurry. Dodge trailed 18-17 when it scored the next four to take the lead on the way to an 8-3 run to end the set.
Barton showed some resolve in the fourth set with its back to wall. The teams traded lead numerous times before Barton pulled out to a lead late. With the set tied at 17-all, Barton scored four straight on a block by Olivia Naccarato, a kill by Nathalia Gouveia, another block by Naccarato, and yet a third block, this time from Naccarato and Carolina Goncalves.
From there the Cougars went on to a 25-22 win to set up a race to 15.
Only it turned into a marathon fifth set.
Kelsie Antcliff helped Barton to an 8-4 lead early with three kills in the final set. The Cougars led 10-6 and 14-10 and looked to be on the way to another Jayhawk win.
It wasn’t to be. An Antcliff kill went just wide that would have ended the match and Dodge City followed with three more points to even the score at 14-all.
Barton would get the next three match points as well - nearly winning on another block. Dodge City got its first match point at 18-17. Barton would not get another match point. The Conquistadors finally won 21-19 to end a wild night in Dodge.
Naccarato led Barton with 14 kills followed by Antcliff with 13 and Gouveia with 10. Goncalves finished with 46 assists, Gouveia had 17 digs and Naccarato eight blocks.
Barton is back on the court this weekend in Highland for classic play. Barton will take on Southwestern (Iowa) and host Highland on Friday. The Cougars will play Ellsworth (Iowa) and Iowa Central Saturday.