For the first time since 2012, the Garden City Community College volleyball team will be playing in the final four of the Region VI tournament.
With a 25-18, 25-20, 25-18 sweep Wednesday night at Butler, the Busters advance to Sunday’s semifinal against Hutchinson in Liberal as top-seeded Seward County hosts. That match is scheduled for 4 p.m., with the winner advancing the region final immediately following.
The Busters had lost in the first round of the postseason tournament in each of the previous four years, including head coach Jacque Matula’s first two seasons at the helm. So how did she react to her first postseason win as a head coach?
“Well, I cried a little bit,” she said, self-consciously. “It’s just really exciting.”
The win comes on the heels of the Busters (12-21) peaking at the end of the regular season, winning eight of their last 12 matches, including a sweep of Butler at home, after being swept at Butler earlier in the season.
“We may not have a great record, but we are playing well just in time,” Matula said. “We’re playing well when we need to play well.”
That means the Busters are advancing, and Butler’s season is over at 25-11.
Garden City controlled the match from the beginning with an aggressive block and defense.
“We blocked really well as a team,” Matula said. “Harlee (Davis) was a huge help on the block, but the entire team blocked well.”
Davis led with four blocks.
And the Buster attack was multiple, with Ashley Brown leading with 10 kills, but Shaney Tiumalu added eight. Several others had three or more.
“The girls stepped on the court ready to play during warm-ups, and that rolled into the game,” Matula said. “That set the tone, because I felt like we had Butler on their heels after that first set.”
Now, the Busters will face a Hutchinson squad that swept Dodge City Tuesday night and swept Garden City twice during the regular season, providing a big challenge for the upset-minded Busters.
“I think if we can run a fast offense — their middle blockers are great — but if we can run a fast offense, then we can keep them on their heels,” Matula said of the matchup.