Aug 29, 2021

T-Bird volleyball puts together three-win weekend in Highland

Posted Aug 29, 2021 2:44 AM

HIGHLAND - Another strong weekend of non-conference action would see the Cloud County Community College volleyball team manage to win three of their four matches by defeating Labette, Fort Scott, and Allen Community College while dropping a five-set decision to host Highland Community College at the 2021 Highland Invitational at Highland Community College Friday and Saturday.

Closing out their second week of action with four matches over the course of two days for the second-straight weekend, CCCC is now 6-3 overall after finishing the weekend by winning three of four matches. The eight non-conference matches played account for eight of CCCC's 16 non-conference matches on the schedule this year as the T-Birds will now play 15 of their final 23 scheduled matches against conference foes.

Cloud County's opening match of the weekend would come with a slight change to the originally published schedule as the T-Birds would take on Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference opponent Labette instead of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M. Following a 28-26 opening set loss, CCCC would return the favor to the Cardinals by taking the second set by the exact same score before going on to win the third set 25-20 and running away with a 25-12 set four victory to close out the match.

Looking to find their groove to set the tone for the rest of the weekend, a slow start from Cloud County would see the T-Birds hit just .137 (14 kills and seven attack errors on 51 attempts) in the opening set before going on to progressively improve their offensive attack throughout the remainder of the match with LCC. In the runaway fourth set, CCCC would commit just four attack errors while scoring 14 of their 25 points with kills while recording a .303 attack percentage.

Career-highs in kills from second-year freshmen Natasha Dooley (18) and Lakyn Tenbrink (17) would pace the offensive attack while sophomore Geraldyn Palacios would finish with a .632 hitting percentage by recording 13 kills on 19 attempts while committing just one attack error. Seven different players for CCCC would record at least one set assist with Kylie Fuller pacing the T-Birds with 22. Mariah Janda would also reach double-digit set assists with 10 while providing 12 digs for her first collegiate double-double. The win for Cloud County would come despite not a single player recording a solo block as all eight blocks for Cloud County would involve more than one player contributing to each recorded block.

Snagging a 25-23 opening set victory from the host Scotties, Cloud County would then find themselves facing a 2-1 hole after dropping the second set by a score of 25-18 and the third set by a 25-12 score. Looking to extend the match, the T-Birds would pick up a must-win set victory with a 25-23 set win but be unable to outpace Highland in the fifth as HCC would win 15-11 to take the match.

Dooley would once again put up a strong performance for CCCC by finishing tied for the team lead in kills with 16 alongside Hollie Stewart to finish as the lone two T-Birds in double-figures. A career-high 43 set assists would come from Fuller to go along with 14 digs as Michaela Bowers would provide a team-best 36 digs in the match. Both Dooley (16) and Stewart (10) would also reach double-figures to each finish with a double-double in the match.

Looking to regroup from the five-set defeat on Friday evening, Cloud County would leave no doubt in their first match of the day on Saturday morning as the Greyhounds of Fort Scott would not have an answer for what would become CCCC's most complete effort of the weekend. Winning by set scores of 25-15, 25-15, and 25-19, The T-Birds would come out of the gates and record a .323 attack percentage in the first set also take advantage of nine service aces in the match while committing just two service errors. Cloud County would also account for eight blocks in the match while recording just to block errors as the limited mistakes would never allow FSCC to keep close late in sets.

Putting together the best offensive match of the week by a T-Bird, Palacios would top her efficient effort against Labette by recording a team-best 14 kills on 18 attack attempts while committing just two attack errors to finish with a .667 attack percentage while adding two service aces and 2.5 blocks. Dooley would continue her strong stretch with 12 more kills to go along with 10 digs and two service aces of her own while Janda would provide a spark with 12 digs and a career-high four service aces.

With a fourth KJCCC Division II opponent on the docket to close out the weekend, Cloud County would once again get off to a quick start in the opening set of their match with Allen as 10 kills on 21 attack attempts would allow CCCC to take a 25-10 opening set victory from the Red Devils. The T-Birds would then manage to hold off ACCC in the final two sets by taking wins by scores of 25-23 and 27-25 to sweep their second-straight match and fifth of the season with five of the six wins for Cloud County coming against Jayhawk conference schools.

A strong defensive output would be the key to victory for CCCC in the match as Palacios and Dooley would combine for five solo blocks and five assisted blocks with the T-Birds finishing with a total of 11 blocks while committing just two block errors. Adding in six service aces including three from Dooley, CCCC would also get a team-best 13 kills from Stewart offensively while Palacios would contribute nine to total 22 of Cloud County's 37 kills in the match.

What's next?
Cloud County will look for their first KJCCC win of the year in conference play on Wednesday with a road trip to Hutchinson Community College for a 6 p.m. first serve. The match will be just the second of the season for the Blue Dragons and first in nine days after winning their 2021 season opener at home on August 23rd in four sets against the Ottawa University JV team.