With just a few points left in Wednesday’s volleyball match at the Conestoga Arena inside the Perryman Athletic Complex, Garden City Broncbusters head coach Jacque Matula yelled a command.
It wasn’t a strategy, or a special kind of attack to help the Busters get back into the pivotal match against visiting Barton. It was just a command telling her players to “roll” — or dive — on the court, after they were apathetic as the Cougars scored a kill and were pulling away for a four-set rout, 20-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-15.
“We do it in practice. If we don’t go for a ball, we’re going to roll,” Matula said. “I want you to at least make an effort, even if you know you’re not going to get there. Lack of effort is just something I’m not OK with.”
The loss locks the Busters (10-21, 6-9) into the sixth seed in the Region VI tournament, with a single inconsequential regular season match yet to play Friday vs. Colby (Home, 6:30 p.m.), which also will be the Busters’ first round regional opponent on either Tuesday or Wednesday.
If the Busters had beaten Barton (18-13, 8-8), they would have been able to move into the fifth seed in the region tournament with a win Friday.
“Just a lack of communication, lack effort, lack of hustle,” Matula said of Wednesday’s loss. “They (Barton) wanted it more. It kind of sucks when you don’t want it as bad as you should, especially when two wins this week could have taken us up into fifth place.”
Instead, the Busters struggled to find any rhythm.
The serve-receive was sloppy, with multiple passes sailing back across the net for an easy Barton kill. And when the Busters did mount an attack, the sets were mis-timed, leaving attackers desperately flailing at the ball or just trying to tip over the net — directly into an aggressive Barton block. Even after the Busters got an ace, the next serve was long, giving the point back to Barton.
“We played out of the norm today,” Matula said. “That wasn’t us. That’s not who we are. That’s not who we’ve been for the last three weeks, so it was just weird. I didn’t really know how to react.
“I tried reacting and coaching them, and I couldn’t get anything out of them, so we’ll figure it out at practice tomorrow.”
Shaney Tiumalu led the Busters with 10 kills, and Madison Park had 20 assists. Bailey Martinez and Park each had 12 digs and Harlee Davis had two blocks.