ARKANSAS CITY — Some nights it just isn’t there.
That was the case for the Barton Community College volleyball team Monday night at Cowley.
The Lady Cougars were never able to get anything going against the 11th-ranked NJCAA Division II Tigers.
The result was the end of a brief, two-game winning streak with a 25-13, 25-20, 25-19 loss in the final non-conference contest of the season for Barton.
The loss dropped the Lady Cougars to 5-17, while Cowley improved to 15-6. It was the third time this season Cowley beat Barton but the first time the Tigers swept the Lady Cougars.
“I’m disappointed in our performance,” Barton head coach Phil Shoemaker said. “We were not offensive and that killed us. What really bothers me is how we competed, or did not.
“A good team, and Cowley is a good team, is going to challenge you on every play and we did not respond consistently or aggressively.”
Barton battled with Cowley early in the opening set, but after a 10-all tie, the Tigers took control of the set. Cowley scored 15 of the next 18 points for the 25-13 win.
In the second set, Barton hung around a little longer, trailing just 16-15 in the match but a quick 4-0 run made it 20-15 on the way to the 25-20 win.
The third set was similar.
In fact, Barton led 19-18 before a 7-0 by Cowley closed out the set and gave the Tigers the sweep.
The Lady Cougars had just about as many attacking errors as kills in the match with 24 kills to 23 errors.
Emily Deterding and Kim Hockley led the Lady Cougars with five kills each. Larned sophomore Tahje Ochs added four.
Casey Friesen led Barton with 12 assists while Hoisington sophomore Mykela Riedl led the Lady Cougars with 15 digs.
Jennica O’Neill added 11 and Great Bend freshman Kylee Spray finished with 10.
The Lady Cougars, 3-3 in the conference, will now turn focus entirely on the Jayhawk West race where they currently stand tied for fifth with Seward County.
Barton has home games this week against Colby tonight and Hutchinson Saturday. Colby sits just ahead of Barton in the standings at 4-3 while Hutch in leading the West with a 6-0 mark.
“We have a lot of big matches ahead against good teams,” Shoemaker said. “We can be a good team too but it’s going to require a much tougher mindset than what we showed tonight.
“I challenged them pretty point blank, and not very kindly after the game, and I am looking forward to their response … with action, not words.”
The Lady Cougars still have 10 conference matches left and a chance to finish in the top half as they did last season with a late season surge.
“A year ago we overcame some adversity in the early season, learned some tough lessons, and had a very good stretch run,” Shoemaker said. “No doubt we have the talent to do likewise. A lot remains to be seen and I am looking for a positive response.”