CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College volleyball team continued its Jekyll and Hyde ways Wednesday evening, falling in four sets to Barton Community College inside Arley Bryant Gymnasium.
"It's spurts of excellence and then we take a nosedive," said Cloud County Community College head coach, Molly Skocny. "We have to find that consistency, that chemistry to our game and be able to carry it out over the course of an entire match, from set to set."
Cloud County (3-10 overall, 0-4 KJCCC) played strong through the first two sets, losing a tight 25-23 battle in Set One to Barton (9-9 overall, 1-4 KJCCC) before bouncing back to win Set Two in dominating fashion, 25-13.
The T-Birds controlled the set from the onset, jumping out to an 8-2 advantage and ballooning the margin to 16-5 following seven straight points — including two aces — with sophomore Christen Greving at the service line.
"In that set, we were playing aggressively. We had our hitters swinging and attacking the ball, not a lot of the tips and taps at the net," Skocny said. "We played with confidence and we allowed our teammates to help us out. It was a display of good teamwork and I think if we can start doing that consistency, that's the squad people will see."
Unfortunately for Cloud County, the tables turned in the third set as it was Barton that pulled ahead early, 8-3, and never looked back en route to a 25-14 set win that gave the Cougars the 2-1 lead in the match.
"When Barton scored a couple points on us, you could see our emotional side just deflate. Devastation set in after a couple points and then all of a sudden that turns into four more points and so on," Skocny said.
Cloud regained its footing to begin the fourth set as the two teams traded the first 16 points. Barton created a little separation with a 7-3 blitz, forcing a T-Birds' timeout at 15-11.
The Cougars put the match away coming out of that timeout with a 10-3 run to close out the set, 25-14.
Offensively, Cloud was led by sophomore Elizabeth Nobert and freshman Giovanna Fundaro as the duo finished with 12 kills and 11 kills, respectively. The two were sizzling to begin the evening as 16 of their 23 kills came between the first two sets.
Freshman libero Britt Michaelis, fresh off her Defensive Player of the Week award for Week 3 in the KJCCC, led all Cloud players with 15 digs.
Things don't get much easier for the T-Birds this Friday as they head to Council Bluffs, Iowa to face No. 2 ranked Iowa Western and Central Community College-Columbus in a triangular. Match times on Friday are set for 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., respectively.
With a break in the KJCCC schedule, Skocny said she is preaching "process" to the team as the T-Birds move forward.
"I think the girls get to feeling defeated because they think, since we've talked so much about building chemistry and consistency, that it's going to magically happen the next time they step on the court," Skocny said. "It's going to be a process and I think it's going to be a season-long process. But once they find that, I think we'll get back to the competitive, driven, and enthusiastic level of play I know we can have."