Late rally against Labette propels Cloud County to its first KJCCC East win

Cloud County sophomore Giovanna Fundaro had a career-high 16 kills in Wednesday's win over Labette
Cloud County sophomore Giovanna Fundaro had a career-high 16 kills in Wednesday's win over Labette

CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College volleyball team picked up its first KJCCC East victory on Wednesday, going on the road and grinding out a five-set victory over Labette Community College.

Cloud County's first conference win didn't come without some dramatics, though.

The T-Birds (8-3 overall, 1-1 KJCCC) were staring at a disappointing 0-2 start in conference play, down two sets to one and 22-20 in Set Four, but were able to claw back and claim a crucial 26-24 win to force a fifth set.

Cloud County, which won the first set 25-19 before Labette countered, was able to build off that momentum and slam the door on the Cardinals in the fifth set, winning 15-6.

"I told the girls 'You have to dig deep right now, you've got to play with heart because there's no way we need to be leaving here with a loss,'" said Cloud County head coach, Deb Monzon. "It was really good to see them bounce back and win that set and Set Five because we've struggled to put people away and in that last game, we were able to put (Labette) away."

Sophomore outside hitters Giovanna Fundaro and Janessa Zenger had career days to lead the T-Birds as Fundaro finished with a career-high 16 kills and added 10 digs, while Zenger also posted a career high in kills with 12.

"Janessa came in with an opportunity and ran with it. She did a very nice job and provides good leadership on the floor," Monzon said. "Same with Giovanna. We need her leadership on the floor and (Wednesday) she took care of the ball at the net."

The duo of Fundaro and Zenger, along with freshmen Jessica Williams (12 kills) and Shelby Ohlde (11 kills), were relied on heavily in the absence of Dayana Chara, the T-Birds' kills leader who was limited to just two sets of action Wednesday due to shoulder soreness.

"Dayana was really sore after the (Barton Classic) and she warmed up, didn't look right," Monzon said. "When she said she was sore and she wasn't hitting well, we decided to make the move to sit her the rest of the night."

Defensively, freshman defensive specialist Willow Hunt led all Cloud County players with 14 digs. Fundaro followed with 10, Zenger and freshman setter Laken Schroeder each added nine, and sophomore Britt Michaelis chipped in seven digs.

Schroeder reached the 40 assist mark for the fourth time this season in the win, as well, and accounted for three total blocks.

Up next, Cloud County will take a quick break from KJCCC East action as it takes on McCook Community College at 6:30 p.m. Friday in McCook, Nebraska.