Kansas City Kansas Community College took down another perennial Jayhawk Conference volleyball power Monday, rallying for a 3-1 win over Cowley County in Arkansas City.
"My first victory over Cowley ever," said a jubilant Mary Bruno-Ballou, who is in her 10th season as Blue Devil head coach. "We've played quite a few 5-set matches with them but never come away with a W." Earlier this season, the Blue Devils posted their first win over Coffeyville in at least a half-dozen years.
The Blue Devils defeated Cowley by becoming from behind. After dropping a 25-23 opening set, the Blue Devils bounced back to go ahead with a pair of 25-22 wins and then wrapped up the match with a decisive 25-17 win.
The win tightened KCKCC's hold on fourth place (4-2) in the Jayhawk Conference behind co-leaders Johnson County and Neosho County, both 4-0; and Highland, 5-1. Overall, the Blue Devils are 5-3 with all three losses to ranked teams – No. 6 JCCC, No. 12 Neosho and No. 15 Lincoln Land.
The Blue Devils are home for two more matches this week, against Labette Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and Fort Scott Saturday at noon. Both matches will be streamed on the KCKCC Blue Devil website.
The match was highlighted by duels between four national leaders. KCKCC'S Cassidy Crist, who leads the NJCAA DII in kills, had 15 while national assist leader Adriana Velez had 40. Crist took a 120-103 lead in kills over runneup Iva Halacheva of Cowley into the match; Velez led Cowley's Gracie Story 250-227 for the national lead in assists. Halacheva had 15 kills, Story 42 assists Monday.
"We played excellent as a group; 11 blocks as a team," said Bruno-Ballou. "The girls are having fun playing and it's showing. The greatest group of kids around. Our bench brings so much energy and enthusiasm. We aren't the team we are without them."
While unranked in the national poll, only one Top 20 team has more wins than KCKCC's five. "With two national leaders, it's odd we're not ranked because we are playing excellent volleyball and working hard," said