Comeback kids: Lady Busters clip Colby in 5 sets
By ADAM HOLT
Early in the second set of Garden City's match with Colby on Wednesday, Veronica Dooley and Natalia Parreira collided and clunked heads diving for a ball. Both were on the floor for a few minutes, with Dooley getting up and laughing it off, and Parreira going to the bench with the trainer.
The ball dropped on that play to give Colby a 3-1 lead in the set. And the ball would keep dropping for Colby as it won the game 25-8. Then the Lady Trojans took the third set, 25-18.
Faced with a 2-1 deficit, the Lady Broncbusters rebounded to take control and held on to win the fourth set, before cruising to a match-deciding win in the fifth, to come back and beat the Trojans 25-20, 8-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-10 at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
"I think that injury, the collision, really took us out of our rhythm in Game 2," GCCC head coach Rob Lutz said. "They jumped all over us like they should have. I think that kind of fired us up. Game 3, we still were coming back from it. Game 4, pride kicked in."
Needing two straight wins to take the match, Garden City (18-13, 5-5 KJCCC) never trailed in the fourth set, getting the winning point on a spike from Parreira that went off a Trojan and out of bounds.
In the fifth, GCCC took a 6-2 lead and kept cruising, keeping CCC (17-10, 5-5) at bay. On match point, Parreira's spike went off Colby's Bailey Pfortmiller and out off bounds to give the Busters the win.
"Felt way more confident in the fifth game," Lutz said. "Talked about coming out with a fast start, coming out and putting it on them early — it's a game to 15, those first few points are crucial for momentum."
"We just lost focus as a unit," Colby head coach Carey Jones said. "That's what happened."
After a closely played first set, Colby didn't seem to have much problem focusing. Jessica Piper's hard, knuckling serve created a lot of problems for the Busters, and the Trojans got some big kills from outside hitters Lorena Rosario and Andjela Reljic to dominate the second set — Garden City's most lopsided loss this season — and pull away from a 12-12 tie in the third to take it, 25-18.
Toward the end of the third, Colby middle blocker Abby Gifford was knocked down in a collision at the net and was visibly unhappy about it. After Colby won the point, the refs and two head coaches had a long discussion about the incident.
Colby won the set, but Garden City got some momentum from it.
"When we were down, we were kind of frustrated with ourselves, and with the collision that happened, we were like, 'Man, we're out of our game,'" Dooley said. "But we came back, and especially when that girl threw her fit, we were like, 'We want this.'"
Despite a sore noggin, Dooley, the Busters' libero, had an impressive game for GCCC, making some crucial digs and covering a lot of ground to save some balls. Early in the fourth set, she sprinted out of bounds to save a ball, putting it back toward the court where setter Brandy Vergado-Duclayan tipped the ball over and off a Trojan to give Garden City a 5-2 lead at the time.
While the comeback could provide some momentum for the Busters, the most important thing was getting a win over a team that was ahead of them in the standings. Colby and Garden City are now tied for fourth in the standings at 5-5, and have split the season series, both teams winning at home. And holding on to fourth is the difference between playing at home or on the road in the first round of the Region VI playoffs.
Garden City next plays at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday in Lamar, Colo., against McCook (Neb.) Community College and Lamar Community College.