GREAT BEND, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College volleyball team completed a strong showing at the two-day Barton Classic on Saturday, earning a split on Day Two to finish 3-1 overall on the weekend.
Cloud County (7-3 overall, 0-1 KJCCC East) began the afternoon with a four-set loss (25-21, 27-29, 12-25 and 20-25) to Casper College, but rebounded in its tournament finale to defeat Butler Community College in four sets (25-22, 25-19, 19-25, 26-24).
The win over the Grizzlies was the second for the T-Birds so far this season, after going 0-2 against Butler a season ago, and all three of their victories in the Barton Classic came against KJCCC West teams in Pratt, Barton and Butler.
"It was a good weekend for us overall. To be able to take three wins home with us out of the Jayhawk Conference was awesome," said Cloud County head coach, Deb Monzon. "We played together and a lot better throughout the tournament. We saw a lot of highlights from a lot of different individuals."
One of those individuals was freshman right-side hitter Jessica Williams, who had her best performance of the young season, leading the T-Birds with a career-high 15 kills against Butler. The Concordia product also added 10 digs and a pair of service aces.
Outside hitter Dayana Chara joined Williams in double-figures in the win as she tallied 12 kills. It highlighted a big day for the two freshmen as Chara (12 kills) and Williams (11 kills) also paced the T-Birds' offense against Casper College.
"Jessica had a great weekend overall. She was great on serve receive, she served well after struggling with that a little bit the last couple of weeks, and she passed the ball well," Monzon said. "When all those things start to click, now your hitting and blocking come around as well. She's a very smart hitter and knows how to use the block well."
Defensively, the T-Birds' defensive specialist duo of sophomore Britt Michaelis and freshman Willow Hunt produced 16 digs and 12 digs, respectively, against the Grizzlies, while freshman Shelby Ohlde controlled the front of the net with two solo blocks and four block assists.
Freshman setter Laken Schroeder continued her solid tournament performance with 35 assists on Cloud County's 41 total kills. WIth an additional 33 assists against Casper College, Schroeder finished the four-match tournament with 156 total assists and an average of 9.18 assists per set; up from her season average of 8.14 entering the weekend.
Sophomore outside hitter Giovanna Fundaro also shined on Saturday, showing her versatility with eight kills and a team-high 13 digs against Casper College before following that up with seven kills and nine digs in the win over Butler.
Cloud County will look to build off the momentum from the Butler Classic when it resumes KJCCC East action Tuesday on the road against Labette Community College (2-3 overall, 1-0 KJCCC East). Start time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. down in Parsons, KS.
"It's key for us to win that match. For us to be where we want to be at the end of the year, we've got to start keying in on these road conference games," Monzon said. "Those matches are going to be important to putting ourselves in a better position at the end of the year. I think every one of these conference games are going to be critical. We need to step on the floor with some presence and get it done. And I think we're capable of doing that."