GARDEN CITY — It was about this time a year ago the Barton Community College volleyball team hit its stride and finished the regular season on a roll.
The Lady Cougars took a step in duplicating that late-season surge Saturday afternoon in Garden City with a Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference West win on the road.
Barton took four sets to knock off the Broncbusters, leaving town with a 25-16, 12-25, 25-15, 26-24 win.
The victory gave Barton a 4-6 record in the West and a 6-20 overall mark. Garden City drops to 3-8 and 8-17.
The Lady Cougars currently sit in sixth place in the West — a couple games behind that all-important fourth place spot that would give Barton a home playoff match to start Region VI play.
Most of the conference is just two matches into the second time through the double round-robin format in West play.
“It was a good win,” head coach Phil Shoemaker said. “Besides the obvious, we started out the match with our longest point streak of the season.”
The Lady Cougars jumped out to a big lead early in the opening set on the way to the win. Garden City did mount a small challenge midway through the set but never really threatened the Lady Cougars as Barton rolled to the 25-16 win.
The second set was not as kind to Barton.
It was Garden that jumped to the early lead and kept Barton at bay the entire set. The Lady Cougars could only get as close as 11-6 during the 25-12 loss in the second set.
With the two teams splitting the opening two sets, the third set was crucial.
The clubs were tied at 9-all in the third when Barton started to take control.
Three straight points gave Barton a 12-9 lead. The Lady Cougars led 14-13 when they took complete command of the match, finishing on an 11-2 run and a 25-15 win.
With a chance to close out the match the Lady Cougars got off to a sluggish start in the fourth set falling behind 11-4.
That is when Barton began to find its game once again.
The Lady Cougars cut it to 11-9 and back-to-back kills by Kylie Jones and Jordan Edelman gave Barton its first lead of the set at 15-13.
Things were far from over, though.
The teams traded the lead a few times and Garden City found itself on top 23-21, but Barton wouldn’t go away.
Again, an Edelman kill evened the match at 23-all as Barton closed out on a 5-1 run for the 26-24 win.
“It was good to see them ready to compete and to have the consistency to put together the run of points,” Shoemaker said. “It’s a goal to get runs of three points or more in any rotation.”
The Lady Cougars hitting attack was led by Jessie Sewell with 15 kills and Tahje Ochs with 11.
As a team Barton’s hitting efficiency was .265.
Lakyn Rowden led Barton with 20 assists and Casey Friesen added 19. Friesen and Jennica O’Neill each had two service aces as well.
Jenna Reid had eight blocks in the match and Sewell added seven as Barton had one of its better matches of the season blocking the ball.
O’Neill led a trio of players with double figures digs with 17. Mykela Riedl had 16 and Ochs added 11.
“We got nice offensive performances from Jessie Sewell and Tahje Ochs in particular,” Shoemaker said. “As a team we had a very good efficiency. Our blocking was very good in some critical moments, and in general our backcourt defense is improving.”
Barton will now have four straight home matches as the Lady Cougars look to make a move up the conference standings. Pratt visits the Barton Gym Wednesday and Cloud County comes in Saturday.
“We have two important matches this week in Pratt and Cloud,” Shoemaker said. “It will be good to be home and we are counting on continued improvement to improve our standing over the last three weeks of the regular season and into the playoffs.”