CONCORDIA, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College volleyball team suffered a minor setback on Tuesday, falling in straight sets at home against Hesston College.
For Cloud County (10-11 overall, 1-4 KJCCC), which nearly forced five sets against No. 2 ranked Cowley and has been competitive against the elite teams in the KJCCC East, Tuesday's loss was a headscratcher as the T-Birds struggled to string points together.
"We've had a couple of letdowns lately," said Cloud County head coach, Deb Monzon. "We showed a lot of really good things early in the season against Cowley, and we played well last week against No. 9 Highland, but since then we're kind of teetered downward. Seems like we're playing to the level of our competition."
Hesston College (7-10 overall, 2-2 KJCCC) was able to hang around in both the first and second sets, despite Cloud County build 3-4 point leads, then were able to turn it on late to steal victories.
The Larks trailed 17-16 in Set One before going on a 6-1 run en route to a 25-19 win. They then battled back from a 20-17 lead for Cloud County in Set Two to win 25-22 to firmly grab hold of the momentum.
Cloud County battled in the third set, overcoming an early 7-1 deficit to climb even at 16-16 on a kill from freshman Dayana Chara, but were unable to extend the match as Hesston College held on for a 25-20 win in Set Three.
Sophomore outside hitter Giovanna Fundaro continued her solid season, leading the T-Birds with 12 kills and 12 digs.
Sophomore outside hitter Erica Gilbert also provided a boost off the bench with five kills and four digs.
Cloud County came into the night fourth amongst all KJCCC teams in blocks per set at 1.96 — Hesston College was 16th out of 20 at 1.25 — but were without its blocks leader Shelby Ohlde as she continues to rehab from a lower body injury.
Ohlde's absence was felt at the front of the net as Cloud County finished with just one solo block and six block assists.
"It definitely hurt our blocking not having Shelby," Monzon said. "Having her in the middle is a key piece for us and we're hoping to have her back next week."
Up next for the T-Birds will be a non-conference road trip to face Kansas Wesleyan JV at 6:30 p.m. this Friday before jumping back into KJCCC East action next Wednesday on the road against defending national champions and No. 1 ranked Coffeyville.
"We did some soul searching in the locker room and we (coaching staff) told the girls 'We've got to figure it out. We've got to be willing to sacrifice something for the good of the team,'" Monzon said. "It's all mental right now. We have to be disciplined when we step on the floor to play the game at the level we know we can play. We have a couple of days of practice now. Hopefully we can go into Friday's match, play well and pound them in three sets to build up our confidence."