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Lady Cougars upset West co-champion Colby
Jayhawk West Volleyball
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COLBY — The wins just keep coming for the Barton Community College volleyball team.
After struggling through much of the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference Western Division season, the Lady Cougars have caught lightning in a bottle to end the regular season.
They made it five straight West wins on Thursday night, knocking off West co-champion Colby on the road, coming away  with a 20-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-21 win.
The win assured Barton of sole possession of fourth in the West. With that, Barton will host Cloud County on Wednesday at Kirkman Activity Center in the opening round of the NJCAA Region VI playoffs.
“We played extremely hard. Not always well, but we determined the outcome through willpower, composure and persistence,” Barton first-year head coach Phil Shoemaker said. “We were not in any way spectacular other than never quitting, sticking with the plan and hammering away on them until they broke. Simple but certainly not easy.”
The Lady Cougars had not won more than two straight all season, and hadn’t done so since early in the West season, beating Garden City and Dodge City back-to-back.
As Barton began its final stretch of five West games, the Lady Cougars stood at just 3-6 in the West and 7-18 overall.
But five straight wins, capped by the upset win has Barton peaking heading into the post season.
In fact, Barton has lost just four sets over its five-game winning streak as the Lady Cougars close out the regular season with an 8-6 mark in the West and a 12-18 overall record.
Colby falls to 12-2 in the conference and 23-8 overall. The Trojans will take the No. 2 seed into region action.
Wichita Heights-product McKenzie Piland had a big night for Barton, posting 19 kills with just two errors to lead the Barton attack. Jori Mote and Mackenzie Orchard both added nine kills for the Lady Cougars.
Casey Friesen led the Lady Cougars setting with 19 assists, followed closely by Lakyn Rowden with 17. Friesen led Barton with a pair of service aces as well.
Defensively, Mote and Jenna Reid each had four blocks with Larned freshman Tahje Ochs adding three. Hoisington freshman Mykela Riedl paced the defensive effort with 20 digs, leading four players in double digits. Piland added 15, Kiara Rivera 12 and Friesen 10.