The Barton Community College volleyball team went down in straight sets Saturday night at the Barton Gym to conference leader Butler Community College 25-23, 25-17, and 25-22.
Barton slips to 1-3 in conference play and 12-3 on the year while Butler, the defending region champions and receiving votes in the latest poll, solidify their current place atop the standings at 6-0 on their tenth straight win improving to 10-4.
The Cougars will next head to Colby, Kansas, for a Wednesday 6:30 p.m. match at Colby Community College before a two-match home stand beginning Monday hosting 17th ranked Hutchinson Community College followed by Garden City Community College coming to the Barton Gym on Wednesday.
Buse Kocakaya led the Cougars with 9 kills for a .350 attack as Barton would hit for just .202 even after a plus .300 first set. Tasiah Nunnery added 5 kills and 9 digs while Molly Norris had four of the Cougars' blocks with Hanna Miller recording 10 digs.
The Cougars started the night slow, getting behind 16-8 before warming up. Jadyn Brown began three straight for the Cougars with Kocakaya producing three attacks leading a 6-1 stretch getting the Cougars back in it. Nunnery would later contribute three points in a 6-2 stretch drawing Barton to within 21-19 but the Grizzlies held off the charge despite the Cougars cutting the margin to one a pair of times to grab the early match lead.
After attacking at a .308 clip in the first set, the wheels fell off in the second set for the Cougars for a .136 attack while the Grizzlies made the most of their chances. Breaking open the set on a 6-0 run during a 9-1 stretch, Butler put the Cougars in the tail lights of a 18-7 score in riding out to a 25-17 win.
Making personnel changes in the second and third set, the Cougars battled back from a 5-0 deficit to tie it at 12. Butler responded with four straight to grab separation but the Cougars clawed back to close within one a trio of times, the last coming at 21-20. The Grizzlies grabbed the next two points before the teams traded tallies the rest of the way in Butler's 25-22 match clinching victory.