Facing the possibility of a letdown due to wrapping up the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference West Division title on Monday, the Barton volleyball team took care of business on Wednesday at Kirkman Activity Center by sweeping Seward County, 25-19, 25-17 and 25-20.
The Lady Cougars, who earned the top seed in next week’s NJCAA Region VI tournament, finish the regular season at 13-1 in conference play, 25-11 overall while Seward will take the third seed with a 9-5 conference record, 21-14 overall.
Seward seemed in control of the first set as Barton adjusted to having setter Juliana Melo de Barros back in the lineup after recovering from an injury.
Seward worked up to a 12-9 lead, which forced Barton head coach Patrick Hall to call a time out to reset his team. Barton went on to out score the Lady Saints 16-7 the rest of the way and take the first set 25-19.
With the offense rolling behind de Barros and the reigning NJCAA Division I and KJCCC Player of the Week Paula da Silva, the Lady Cougars defense was equally up to the task as Barton would win the second set in dominant fashion 25-17, and finish the match with a 25-20 victory in the third set.
Da Silva, who along with de Barros has won both the NJCAA and KJCCC Player of the Week award, finished the match hitting 45 percent with 17 kills. De Barros, who led the Lady Cougars offense for the first time since Oct. 14, dished out 30 assists. Anchoring the Barton defense was Giselle de Moura with 24 digs, while Gabriela Oliveira dug 17 and Ashley Archer finished with 10.
“I thought we put together a fairly consistent effort tonight. Having Ju back obviously helped, as we started to reassert our offensive rhythm,” said Hall. “We also had one of our best passing efforts of the season, and both Giselle and Gabi seemed to get everything up. Seward is a nice team, so this victory should be a good springboard into regional play.”
The Lady Cougars will open its defense of the Region VI title on Tuesday, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at Kirkman Activity Association against an opponent yet to be determined.