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GCCC volleyball wins first two matches

GCCC Sports Information Services

LAMAR, CO - Two matches into the 2021 season, the Broncbusters have already done something they only did twice all year in 2019-win consecutive matches. And in Saturday's night cap, the brown and gold figured out a different way to get to the finish line, taking down Lamar 25-20, 25-11 and 25-17.

"First and foremost, it's great to be playing again," Head Coach Patrick Hiltz said. "I have to thank all the presidents and athletic directors that spent countless hours in meetings and collaborations to make it possible for all of our student athletes to get back on the court. As for the match, I thought we were very clean in certain aspects; yet there are still plenty of things that we need to work on."

After cruising past Clarendon in the first match, Lamar scored the first two points of the first set. Garden City stormed back, tying the match at 7 after freshman Remi Vargas found a soft spot in the middle of the Lopes' defense. The Broncbusters then grabbed the lead on an unforced error and a block by Angel Sherman that put them up 10-8. Pulelehua Keb added a pair of kills, Reagan Karlin, who was sensational in the opener, spiked one crosscourt, and Alli Meng finished off the first stanza with a kill of her own.

Following a blowout victory in set two, the Broncbusters found themselves down 14-8 in the third.

"I feel like we let up a little against Lamar," Hiltz added.

Down six, the Broncbusters answered resoundingly, closing the match by scoring 17 of the final 18 points.

In the first match, Hiltz stood on the sideline Saturday afternoon like he normally does; arms crossed with that famous stoic demeanor. But after a season that saw Garden City win only seven games, the second-year coach could only crack a smile after the Broncbusters first match of 2021.

Laren Baldowsky had eight kills, Reagan Karlin added seven, and Garden City completely overpowered Clarendon 25-14, 25-13 and 25-15 at Lamar Gymnasium. It was the Broncbusters first season-opening victory since 2017.

The brown and gold were the aggressors from the start. Pulelehua Keb finished off a powerful spike coupled with three unforced Clarendon errors that put Garden City up 4-0 in the opening set. Keb and Angel Sherman then combined for a double block, Remi Vargas tapped it softly over the net, and the Broncbusters led 14-7. Karlin, who originally committed to Creighton out of high school, looked very comfortable in her first collegiate match, teaming up with Sherman for a block before adding a crosscourt kill to give the Broncbusters an 11-point victory in the opening frame.

The second set was all Garden City.

With the score knotted at 6, Karlin's kill ignited a 19-7 run. She added back-to-back spikes, Baldowsky tallied an emphatic punch down the middle and a clean service ace to put the Broncbusters up 2-0.

In the final stanza, Clarendon jumped out to a 2-0 lead (first lead of the match). But Garden City rattled off seven straight points; then took their first double-digit advantage of the set on a Clarendon hitting error that made it 15-5. Emmah Sultz followed with a soft tap that split the middle of the Bulldogs alignment, Baldowsky added a block and a kill, and the Broncbusters polished off a three-set sweep.

Garden City hosted Hutchinson on Monday night in its home opener.