Volleyball survives five set conference battle with Hutchinson

Tearing through the Jayhawk Conference for virtually the entire season, the No. 19 ranked Barton Community College volleyball team struggled tonight but prevailed in a five set thriller over Hutchinson Community College.  In running its undefeated conference record to 10-0, Barton lost as many sets tonight as it has done all conference season.  The 21-7 Lady Cougars will get its final chance to impress the national pollsters as they travel to Missouri this weekend to face fellow ranked opponents in the MSU-West Plains Tournament.

Barton built a two-set advantage taking set one 25-20 and holding on to win set two 28-26.  Unlike its previous conference matches, the Lady Cougars weren’t able to complete the sweep as Hutchinson gained momentum and confidence by taking the third set 25-23.   The intermission between sets three and four didn’t slow down the Blue Dragons as they controlled and dominated the fourth set 25-17 in front of a stunned Barton home crowd.

In the deciding fifth set the two teams traded points but Barton eventually pulled away to a seemingly comfortable 14-9 lead.  However, the fifth set mirrored the overall aura theme of the match, and the Blue Dragons won the next four points and push the Lady Cougars to the brink.  Barton responded with the dynamic duo of the reigning NJCAA and KJCCC player of the week Juliana Melo de Barros feeding six foot two middle blocker Paula da Silva for a kill to put the match away.  Da Silva led the Lady Cougars with 31 kills including seven in the decisive set.

“We struggled with our rhythm tonight against a very motivated Hutch team,” said Head Coach Patrick Hall. “Fortunately we pulled it out, but will have to stay more focused down the stretch.”

Barton travels to Missouri this weekend for the MSU-West Plains Tournament. On Friday the Lady Cougars will play at 12:00 p.m. against fellow conference and national receiving votes Seward County Community College followed by a 6:00 p.m. match against No. 16 MSU-West Plains. Saturday’s schedule doesn’t offer any relief as Barton begins the morning at 10:00 a.m. against No. 17 Wallace State and wraps up the tournament against the dangerous 16-7 Jefferson College. 

Released:  October 13, 2011

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