Call it one of those nights. And all Garden City's Patrick Hiltz and Independence's Chris Taylor could do was crack a smile.
In the end though, it was the Pirates that pushed through delays, score changes and missed calls for a four-set victory, 20-25, 25-23, 22-25, 16-25, Friday at Perryman Athletic Complex.
With both football teams in attendance ahead of Saturday's big showdown, the atmosphere was loud and electric to start. And both squads fed off of it. Garden City crawled back from an early 4-1 deficit in the first set and eventually found themselves ahead 7-4. But Independence responded with a 14-6 run, and when Natasha Colon finished off a cross-court kill, the Pirates had an 18-13 advantage. Following back-to-back spikes by Katie McHugh and Katarina Vojvodic that pulled Garden City within two, Independence made the last push. The Broncbusters missed a block into the net, and the Pirates took the first set.
Now the second set was a different story.
Garden City sprinted out of the gates, and Meosho Erving's block put the Broncbusters in front 9-5. But a few minutes later, a questionable call on a possible tipped ball stopped play. What ensued was a 10-minute delay and a score change. It seemed as if the momentum would be zapped.
Instead, the Broncbusters finished off the Pirates. McHugh's tip gave Garden City set point, which was followed up by an error on Independence, evening the match at one set apiece.
In the third, Garden City missed several opportunities to pull away early. A couple of Independence miscues gave the Broncbusters a 10-8 edge. But as they did in the opening stanza, the Pirates stormed back, scoring five straight points to take a three-point lead. After Garden City regained their footing later in the set, a couple more errors, coupled with two Colon kills, gave Independence a three-point victory.
Independence broke open a tie score in the fourth set, pushing their way to a double-digit lead. An error by Summer Nerkowski and a missed block, ended the match.
Garden City is back in action with a 6 p.m. match on Tuesday against Bethany's JV.