CONCORDIA - A strong performance from sophomore Kenzie Cooper to go along with eight team blocks and nine team service aces would propel the Cloud County Community College volleyball team to a three-set home victory over Barton County Community College inside Arley Bryant Gymnasium on Saturday.
Handing Barton just their second loss of the season, the T-Birds improve to 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference while Barton drops their second straight match after winning their first 11 to start the season and is now 11-2 overall and 0-2 in the KJCCC. Scores of the match were 25-21, 25-20, and 25-19 as CCCC picks up a three-set victory over Barton for the first time since Nov. 4, 2015. The last win for Cloud County over the Cougars prior to Saturday came in the 2019 season as the T-Birds would sweep a pair of non-conference matches from BCCC in four sets each.
Points would be coming in bunches for both teams out of the gates as a quick 3-0 start for Barton would be turned into a 5-3 Cloud County lead after a Cougar service error would send Cooper to the service line to score on three of the next four attempts with service aces. Back-to-back points from Barton would tie things up again at 5-5, but CCCC would respond with two of their own to reclaim a lead at 7-5. The Cougars would net the next three points to take their second lead of the set at 8-7, but it would be quickly erased as a 4-0 run would be part of an 8-1 run to put the T-Birds up by a 15-9 score. Cloud County would maintain their lead over the next several points before seeing the Cougars fight their way back to within one at 19-18 before a timely service error would return service to CCCC. Barton would continue their run on the next point, scoring the next two points to tie things at 20-20 which would force a Cloud County timeout to try and get things back under control. The timeout would prove to be much needed as another service error would set CCCC up to end the set on a 5-1 run with Zoe Bechard giving the T-Birds their seventh service ace of the set to earn a 25-21 win.
The second set would prove to be another closely contested battle as neither team would find any breathing room through the first 14 points of the set with a 7-7 tie turning into a 9-7 Barton lead on a pair of Cloud County attack errors. A kill from freshman Katelyn Brogan would turn the tide on the next point, starting an 8-1 run that would give the T-Birds a four-point cushion at 15-11. The CCCC lead would hover between three and five points for the next several points of the set as Barton could not find a way to string points together which would allow Cloud County to control the momentum. Holding a 20-17 lead, the T-Birds would put together another 3-0 run that would open up a six-point lead at 23-17 and put CCCC in seemingly full control of the set. Barton would make one last push by countering with a 3-0 run of their own to get back within three, but a pair of Cougar attack errors would close out the set for the T-Birds with a 25-20 set victory.
Cloud County could not ask for a better start to the third set, scoring the first five points and seven of the first nine to jump out to a 7-2 lead to put even more pressure on a Barton squad in need of a set victory to extend the match. The five-point T-Bird lead would grow to as many as eight mid-way through the set as a 6-1 run would turn a 10-7 CCCC lead into a 16-8 lead for Cloud County. Things never would get closer than a four-point spread the rest of the way as CCCC would be able to match BCCC in points throughout on their way to closing out the match with a 25-19 set victory.
It would be far from the most efficient offensive outing for the T-Birds who committed 21 attack errors to go with 31 total kills as part of a .101 attack percentage while holding Barton to a .093 attack percentage with 22 attack errors of their own. Service aces (9-4) and blocks (8-6) would prove to be a big part of the victory for Cloud County as both teams would record a total of 30 set assists and 39 digs in the team statistical breakdown.
Individually, Cooper's match-high 10 kills would be paired with a team-best 11 digs for a double-double while also adding three service aces and two assisted blocks. Making her Cloud County debut, freshman Abigail Graham would record six kills and two blocks alongside a five-kill, three-block performance from Marcella Garcia who would also record seven digs. Both Katelynn Brogan (15) and Brette Doile (10) would record double-digit set assists, accounting for 25 of the 30 T-Bird set assists in the match.
Cloud County will close out their three-match home stand next Wednesday when they welcome the Conquistadors of Dodge City Community College inside Arley Bryant Gymnasium for a 6:30 p.m. first-serve. DCCC swept a pair of three-set matches from North Platte Community College on Friday evening to improve to 8-3 overall despite holding an 0-2 mark in the KJCCC. In the series history between Cloud County and Dodge City, the Conquistadors have won the past four meetings dating back to the 2017 season, with CCCC's last win in the series coming on Oct. 27, 2016, in Concordia.