STERLING, Colo. — Sometimes improvement can be obvious.
Sometimes it can be frustrating.
For the Barton Community College volleyball team right now it is latter — very frustrating.
But the signs are there. Even though the Lady Cougars went 0-4 over the weekend at the Northeastern Junior College Pizza Hut Invitational in Sterling, Colo., Barton nearly won two of those matches and gave a ranked opponent its only set loss of the tournament.
Despite those efforts, the Lady Cougars are now 2-12 on the season.
“Overall we saw a lot of improvement in our competitive spirit against some strong competition, but not enough to finish the job,” Barton head coach Phil Shoemaker said. “We continue to be terribly inconsistent in our individual performances on all fronts unfortunately.
“Our matches this weekend were characterized by really tough, long rallies, and we'd get behind and catch up, or get ahead, and fall behind. Encouraging and frustrating at the same time.”
Barton started things off against Northwest (Wyo.) College, a team that went 4-0 on the weekend and currently has a 6-match winning streak. The Lady Cougars jumped to a 2-0 lead in the match with a pair of 25-23 set wins but couldn’t close the deal losing the next two sets 25-10 and 25-15. In the fifth and deciding set, the Lady Cougars lost 15-13. The Trappers beat fellow Jayhawk teams Seward County and Garden City in four sets.
Sophomore Jessie Sewell and freshman Jordan Edelman led the way in hitting with 9 and 7 kills respectively. Sophomore Lakyn Rowden had a pair of service aces go with 12 digs while fellow sophomore Jennica O’Neill led with 13 digs. Freshman Kim Hockley had 8 blocks and Jenna Reid 5.
Barton finished Friday off with a 25-14, 21-25, 25-9, 25-23 loss to No. 19 Casper (Wyo.) College. The Barton win the second set was the only set lost by Casper the entire weekend as the Thunderbirds also went a perfect 4-0 including 3-0 wins over Seward and Garden City.
Sewell had 17 kills and Hockley 10 to pace Barton in hitting. Reid added 7 blocks while Sophomore Mykela Riedl paced the Lady Cougars with 15 digs.
The Lady Cougars started Saturday off with host Northeastern Junior College and nearly pulled out another win — losing their second 5-set match of the weekend in the closest of fashions once again.
The teams traded wins through the first four sets before NJC again pulled out a 15-13 win the finale for a 25-18, 25-27, 25-17, 23-25, 15-13 victory. That same NJC team swept through Seward and Garden in 3 sets and finished the weekend 3-1.
Freshman Emily Deterding pounded out 17 kills and Sewell added 15 to pace the Cougars in hitting. Deterding also had five services aces to lead the Cougars during the contest. Riedl and O’Neill had big defensive games with Riedl posting 27 digs and O’Neill adding 17.
Barton closed out the weekend with a contest against Sheridan (Wyo.) College. Barton won the first set before dropping the next three in a 23-25, 25-23, 25-21, 25-20 setback to the Generals.
Deterding and freshman Kylie Jones led the hitting with 12 and 10 kills while Riedl and O’Neill again led the defense with 20 and 14 digs. Jones also added 4 blocks.
“Good news is that our freshman are making significant contributions and growing each week,” Coach Shoemaker said. “Losing stinks, we all hate it, but we are going to have to remain patient as this team develops.”
Barton will return to action Wednesday in a Jayhawk West battle with Dodge City. Barton is currently 1-3 in the Jayhawk while Dodge City sits at 0-3. First serve is set for 6:30 pm.
“We have a lot of talented players, but finding the right combination has been tricky,” Shoemaker said. “I believe we will be consistent winners soon, but that must be proven.”