By TODD MOORE
Barton Sports Info
Six members of the 19th ranked Barton Community College volleyball team were recently named to the released All-KJCCC/Region VI selection list.
Phoebe Reyes led the selections in being named both the Freshman of the Year and the Most Valuable Player with Megan Besecker completing Barton's sweep of the top awards in being named the Coach of the Year.
Joining Reyes on the First Team were Kassidy Nixon and Anna Wierzbicki with Clara Lindstrom, the lone sophomore on the list, landing on the Second Team while Elena Stankovic and Mya Thompson garnering Honorable Mention distinction.
The selections led by first-year Head Coach Besecker won the league title with a 13-3 record in concluding the season in the Region VI/Plains District semifinals at 25-6.
Reyes becomes the program's first freshman of the year award winner and player of the year recipient since Maria Santos and Mylena Testoni each received the distinction respectively in the 2020 season.
The freshman out of the Dominican Republic ranked 4th in kills per set (3.46) and attack percentage (.275) in three rotations of the Cougars' 6-2 offensive set leading Barton to the top conference spot of kills per set and second in attack percentage. Posting double-digit kills in 20 of Barton's 31 matches, fourteen of those came against conference opponents including a career high 21 against Seward County. Earning the Week 6 Offensive Player of the Week, defensively Reyes was also effective with 22 matches of two or more blocks in averaging .49 per set in league play helping Barton's rank in the top three teams of blocks per set.
Coach Besecker built the 2023 Cougars with a talented group of freshmen to compliment a limited number of returning starters. Picked 8th in the pre-season coaches poll, Besecker led a squad to Barton's first league title since 2011. Concluding the conference slate at 13-3 and a two game cushion of the lead, Besecker's squad won twelve straight KJCCC matches including seven in straight sets. The team's bid to add a Region/District fell short in the semifinals to conclude the season at 25-6.
Kassidy Nixon – 1st Team
The 5'9" redshirt freshman outside hitter from Claflin, Kansas, tied for the team lead with nine double-double performances, averaging a squad second best 2.41 kills and 2.94 digs per set. The KJCCC's Week 3 Player of the Week recorded ten matches with double-digit kills, including a career high 18 coming late in the season at Colby, and had nineteen matches of double-digit digs in posting a high of 18 digs twice.
Anna Wierzbicki – 1st Team
The 5'11" middle blocker was at the top of the stat chart during league play with 1.22 blocks per set on 13 solo and 58 assisted blocks. A native of Chapadao do Ceu, Goiás, Brazil, Wierzbicki had twenty matches of three or more blocks, thirteen of those of five or more, with collegiate highs of nine coming in consecutive matches. Attacking the middle at a .249 efficiency, Wierzbicki posted a collegiate high 13 kills at Hutchinson followed by her first 9 block performance three days later in Garden City to earn the conference's Week 7 Player of the Week honor.
Clara Lindstrom – 2nd Team
The 5'6" sophomore libero anchored the backline at 4.03 digs per set. Recording 435 total digs on the season, the Hiawatha, Kansas, native left her mark in the 14th slot of the program's all-time best single season achievement. Offensively Lindstrom scored a team second best 35 service aces and a third best 104 assists.
Elena Stankovic – Honorable Mention
The Cougars' 6-2 offensive set was led by Stankovic' 5.52 assists per set. The 5'10" native of Cajetina, Serbia, was joined by Maurin Reyes' 4.58 assists in the scheme to combine for a league best 10.10 per set average. Recording seven double-doubles on the year, Stankovic had 26 matches of 15 or more assists, thirteen over 20 assists with a career high 34 coming at Cloud County, and a career high 18 digs coming late in the season at Colby.
Mya Thompson – Honorable Mention
The 5'11" opposite hitter out of Hutchinson, Kansas, ranked third on the squad at 2.21 kills per set helping the Cougars lead the league in the category. Having twelve matches of double-digit kills, seven in conference play including a collegiate high 15 coming against Seward County, Thompson also helped the squad as one of the best blocking teams with contributing .53 per set with a high of six coming at Garden City.