How sweet it is: Lady Busters belt Conqs in volleyball
By J. LEVI BURNFIN
The tables had turned. And it was the best feeling the Garden City Community College volleyball team has had this season.
Usually, it was the Lady Busters on the wrong end of a straight-set rout. They'd make mistakes and could never get a consistent offense going.
On Monday night at the Perryman Athletic Complex against Dodge City, though, the Lady Busters were on the giving end of a dominating effort, sweeping the Lady Conqs in three sets, all of which Garden City were in control throughout.
"That felt pretty good," said head coach Harvey Sanders of the 25-18, 25-13, 25-18 romp. "I'm really excited for those girls because they've been working hard for the last two weeks on cutting down their errors, and we went too far the other way — we weren't making any errors but we weren't making any plays, either."
That wasn't the case Monday night as several girls put on an offensive affront on the Lady Conqs, racking up 37 kills.
One of those players that led the way was Dominique Mays.
"It feels awesome," said the freshman outside hitter. "It feels really, really good."
The Lady Busters and Dodge city exchanged points throughout the first set but Garden City would win three points to every two points they lost, cruising to a 24-18 lead. Sophomore Chinasa Ekweariri put an emphatic end to the set with a booming kill for the winning point after a short rally between the two teams. The spike ignited the student-laden crowd and energized the Lady Busters for the rest of the night.
Dodge City earned a 4-3 lead in the second but Garden City rode six-straight points to a 9-3 lead and never looked back, going on several multi-point streaks to win the second set easily, 25-13. In the final set, Dodge City never led. The Lady Busters established their presence at the net, scoring several blocks that led to more point streaks for the Lady Busters, including a three separate 4-1 streaks to pull away. It was an Ekweariri kill yet again that finished off the match.
"I'm just glad that (Ekweariri's) going and making plays because when we started, she wasn't," said Sanders. "She was really timid and I'm like, 'that's your only shortfall is your timidness. Just go make plays.' So, I've let her off the chain and I'm really liking the results she's putting in."
Ekweariri finished with eight kills and only two errors. But she was far from alone as she was one of four Lady Busters with five or more kills in the little over one-hour match. Mays had seven kills compared to only two errors. Freshman Casey Hicks had five and Taylor Winchester had a team-leading 11 in an impressive performance.
Mays said the chemistry between the hitters and freshman setter Abby Rennick deserves a lot of the credit, as the familiarity between the players has grown over the last few weeks. And it was apparent early, to Mays, that she and Rennick were on the same page.
"When you get that one good set, you know from there what you need to do," the 5-foot-8 hitter said. "Then it's an automatic connection from there."
As a team, the Lady Busters committed only 10 attacking errors — something that had plagued them in the beginning of the season — and against a struggling Dodge City team that was 1-10 coming into the match. Yet, for Sanders, it doesn't matter the opponent, making progress is the key.
"Well, it's a conference win. And that's important because we need to get some conference wins to get us to the postseason and make our ripple there," the first-year coach said. "We knew the season would start off a little rough because I'm new, they're new. It took time to figure some things out.
"But we've got the athletes to compete so we're starting to get the idea about how to play volleyball at this level. I like my odds. I'm here to battle with these kids and they're starting to fight."
The win brought the Lady Busters out of the conference basement at 1-3 in the KJCCC and 2-10 overall. The Lady Conqs drop to 0-3 and 1-11.
Garden City continues its three-match homestand at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday as they host conference foe Hutchinson (1-1, 4-6) at Perryman.