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Cougars March on to District Semifinals, Sweep Seward County in First Round

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GREAT BEND, Kan. (BartonSports.com) – The 19th ranked Barton Community College volleyball team made it a short night Wednesday at the Barton Gym by rolling past Seward County Community College in straight sets 25-13, 25-22, 25-16.

Taking all three season meetings versus the Saints, Barton improves to 25-5 to march on to Saturday’s 6:30 p.m. semifinals of the Region VI/Plains District Tournament against 4th seeded Butler Community College. Seward County ends the season at 13-17.

By virtue of its KJCCC title and its first-round victory, Barton continues to host the District Tournament with semifinal match one taking place at 4:00 p.m. with 7th seeded Dodge City taking on 3rd seeded Colby followed by the Barton-Butler contest. The victors will then advance to Sunday’s 2:00 p.m. title match with an automatic NJCAA Division I Tournament bid on the line adding to the Championship fever.

Barton opened the night with a whopping .469 first set efficiency, finishing at an impressive .302 overall effectiveness for its best outing in the last 12 matches.

Setters Elena Stankovic and Maurin Reyes put up 19 and 13 assists respectively as the Cougars’ serve receive had just one error in 49 attempts for a .980 success in keying the big offensive night.

Kassidy Nixon led with 11 kills on a .304 efficiency with Phoebe Reyes‘ 10 kills coming on a .409 clip. Nixon also collected a team high 11 digs in posting her 9th double-double of the year.

The Cougars’ middles were also solid on the night with Anna Wierzbicki‘s .412 efficiency leading to 9 kills with Akeir Scales producing a .444 night of 4 kills.

Naya Danenberg had a solid all-round game with 8 kills on a .261 attack, 8 digs in tying Clara Lindstrom for team second most, and had zero return errors in being targeted 23 times.

Set 1
Five different Cougars accounted for Barton’s first six points in Barton getting out to a 6-2 early edge. Maintaining the margin up to 10-6, Nixon’s second and third kill of the set on either side of a Stankovic kill widened the gap to seven forcing Seward County’s first timeout of the evening. Wierzbicki’s ace out of the break, adding another following a Saint attack error, capped the six point spurt breaking the set open. A trio of Saints points cut it back to seven but it would be as close as the visitors would get with Barton rattling another four point stretch in its 9-4 sealing of the opening frame.

Set 2
Tied for the 8th time of the second set, P. Reyes and Danenberg attacks sparked a trio of points to gain a little breathing room, lasting until a Saints’ three-pack tied it up again at 14. Later tied for the 11th time at 17, P. Reyes and Danenberg struck again putting Barton out front before Seward County took just its second lead of the frame on three straight for a 20-19 lead. From there P. Reyes put the Cougars on her back for the next two points, ripping a kill then putting up a solo wall of denial as the rejections sparked three straight points for a 22-20 lead and a Saints timeout. An attack error gave the home point another tally with Wierzbicki’s center attack giving Barton set point at 24-20 with Danenberg putting the final touches on the frame following the Saints’ pair of tallies.

Set 3
An early Seward County timeout did little to slow down the inevitable as Barton strung seven straight including a pair of M. Reyes aces in jumping out to an 8-1 lead. The Saints closed to within 8-4 and again drew to within 12-8 but Barton left no door ajar in scoring eight of the next nine for a 20-9 margin. Wierzbicki accounted for three of the Cougars’ final five points to seal the match, punishing the court twice before tying her career high 3rd service ace with Scales delivering the night’s final point.

Series Notes:
– Second straight first round meeting between the teams – Seward County won last year in Liberal
– Barton swept the season’s three meetings
– Barton leads the series 23-15 in Great Bend
– Barton leads the overall series 62-46

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