The Dodge City Community College Conquistadors fell to the Barton Community College Cougars Wednesday night, ending their longest winning streak since 2010 at seven matches.
The Cougars beat the Conquistadors 3-1, by scores 25-23, 21-25, 25-20 and 25-19.
Barton took the match’s first point to lead 1-0 in the first set, and it was there that Dodge City head coach Kamri Nehls said she immediately saw trouble.
“We were not mentally here tonight,” Nehls said. “It showed in the first set that we weren’t focused from the very first point. We didn’t start playing until half-way through the first set and we just fell apart when things got tight and situations got tough. We individualized, started trying to do things for ourself instead of coming together as a team.”
Things were tough for the Conquistadores early and often. Barton took leads at 1-0, 2-1, and after a series of Dodge City leads and tied points, established the lead in set one for good when the Cougars took the lead 10-9. The Cougars’ 10th point of the set kicked off what became a 5-0 run and led to a 14-9 lead by the Cougars before the Conquistadors made it 14-10. The Cougars eventually expanded the lead to as much as nine, leading at one point 20-11.
It was then that the Conquistadors made a furious attempt at a comeback. After trailing 21-12, the Conquistadors scored seven straight points to cut the lead to 21-19. Eventually, however, the Cougars sealed the set, winning set one 25-23.
Dodge City played much better in set two, establishing a 1-0 lead out of the gate and eventually winning the second set 25-21, which tied the match at 1-1.
The Cougars rebounded and although the Conquistadors took the lead from them multiple times, the Cougars were able to triumph 25-20.
Set four was perhaps the toughest of the night for the Conquistadors, who never led in the set. Barton took an early 1-0 lead and led the majority of the match. Only two points, with scores 1-1 and 4-4, were tied in the entire set. The Cougars eventually won the final set 25-19.
Nehls said the team talked afterward about needing to be willing to outwork opponents, instead of just desiring to win.
“I think we kind of went in tonight expecting to win and being surprised that we actually had to work for our win which is disappointing,” Nehls said. “We just talked about how the want isn’t enough, we have to be willing to outwork our opponent and not settle for winning one set, but getting better each point in each set and increasing our win.”
The Conquistadors next face Colby Community College at 6:30 p.m. Friday in Dodge City, Kansas.