Barton Community College volleyball sophomores McKenzie Piland and Kiara Rivera were recently selected to the All-KJCCC/All-Region VI team. The Lady Cougars completed their season on Monday in the Region VI tournament, dropping a heartbreaking five-set match to Colby in the loser’s bracket final.
Under first-year head coach Phil Shoemaker, the Lady Cougars developed throughout the season to become one of the top teams in Region VI, winning seven of their last nine matches to finish the season at 14-20.
• McKenzie Piland
Named to the honorable mention team last season, Piland was the workhorse for the Lady Cougars throughout her sophomore season.
The 5-foot-11 outside hitter from Wichita recorded her 11th double-double of the season in her last match in a Barton uniform, the 13th time she has reached the feat in her career.
Piland led the 2103 Lady Cougars in kills (382), kills per set (3.13), attack attempts (1,170), points (442), points per set (3.6) and finished tied with freshman Jennica O’Neill in service aces (27).
“McKenzie Piland was our rock this year,” Shoemaker said. “She was at her best in the most crucial situations it seems. Not afraid to take the big swing when it counted most.
“(She) really worked hard to be a good team leader, and worked to make her teammates better too. A really solid all-around player who loves Barton volleyball and was fun to coach.”
• Kiara Rivera
Leading the Lady Cougars defense throughout the season was often the smallest in stature, but largest in heart, as was the case the past two seasons with Kiara Rivera.
The 5-0 libero from Humacao, Puerto Rico, was often seen flying around the court or giving encouragement to her teammates. Rivera led the Lady Cougars in digs (456) and digs per set (3.74) while finishing one behind Piland and O’Neill for the team lead in service aces finishing with 26.
“Kiki is the happiest person in the world, and her love of the game and her team was always evident,” Shoemaker said. “A huge impact player in a tiny little package. Great ball control skills and always working hard to make positive contributions.”