CONCORDIA, Kansas — For the second match in a row, the Cloud County Community College volleyball team showed plenty of flashes that it can compete with the best teams in the KJCCC and in NJCAA Division II.
Unfortunately, the T-Birds were not able to consistently keep the pedal down, though, as they fell in four sets (22-25, 14-25, 25-19 and 15-25) on Wednesday to No. 9 ranked Highland Community College, two days after also taking No. 2 ranked Cowley College to four sets.
Errors, especially from the service line, were the main sticklers for Cloud County (8-6 overall, 1-3 KJCCC) as the T-Birds committed 15 service errors on the night, six of which came in the first set to halt their early momentum.
Cloud County jumped out to a 7-4 lead — all four of Highland's points came via Cloud errors — and led 14-11 following a block from freshmen Haven Hamilton and Jessica Williams before Highland (12-2 overall, 1-1 KJCCC) rallied back with a 7-0 run to take an 18-14 lead.
The T-Birds were able to tie up the set again at 22-22 on a net violation on the Scotties, but couldn't get over the hump as Highland held on to take Set One, 25-22.
Highland would go up 2-0 in the match with a 25-14 win in Set Two.
Cloud County found its footing again in the third set, building an early 13-7 lead after back-to-back kills by freshman outside hitter Dayana Chara, who led all T-Birds with 10 kills.
Freshman middle hitter Shelby Ohlde then closed out the 25-19 set win for Cloud County with one of her career-high eight total blocks. The native of Linn, Kansas also added nine kills.
Unfortunately for the T-Birds, they were unable to build off the momentum shift in the fourth set as Highland got out to a quick 13-8 lead, then bumped the lead to 20-10 following a Cloud County timeout. The Scotties would maintain that 10-point lead the rest of the way to clinch the match with a 25-15 win in Set Four.
Williams added eight kills to help Chara and Ohlde pace the offense, while sophomore Giovanna Fundaro added five kills and freshman Maria Garcia Bustos was a bright spot off the bench with three kills and two block assists.
Defensively, Fundaro led all Cloud players with 13 digs. Williams was in double-figures as well with 11 digs and freshman libero Willow Hunt added nine digs.
The T-Birds will look to regroup this weekend as they head to the Pizza Hut Invitational, hosted by Northeastern Junior College this Friday and Saturday in Sterling, Colorado.
Cloud County gets the tournament started at 5 p.m. Friday against North Platte Community College.