GCCC beats Hutch; first time in almost 20 years

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Reagan Karlin, center, drives the ball through a pair of Hutchinson defenders for a kill Monday during a volleyball match at Perryman Athletic Complex. The Broncbusters won the home opener, the first time GCCC had beaten the Blue Dragons in nearly 20 years.

Incredibly, Garden City has played in 10 sets so far this season. They've won nine of them. And on the heels of Monday's performance, the Broncbusters made history along the way.

Reagan Karlin had 13 kills, Remi Vargas added 15 assists, and the brown and gold snapped a 38-match losing streak to Hutchinson with a four-set victory 25-14, 25-23, 21-25 and 25-20 at Perryman Athletic Complex. It was their first win in the series since Sept. 14, 2001.

"I couldn't be prouder of my team tonight," Head Coach Patrick Hiltz said. "They fought together and kept their composure throughout."

Hiltz's squad played team volleyball from the start, but it was a Garden City combination that helped Bring the Broncbusters home. The duo of Vargas and Karlin appeared unstoppable, and when the freshman combo hooked up for a Karlin kill midway through the first set, the Broncbusters had an 11-7 advantage. Moments later, Vargas found Angel Sherman, whose powerful spike down the middle of the Hutchinson alignment put the home team up by six. They eventually stretched that to 10 before a Vargas block ended the first set. Garden City closed the opening frame on a 9-3 run.

"Our middles really played well tonight," Hiltz explained. "Laren and Angel both worked their tails off."

In the second set, Garden City overcame an early three-point hole. Alli Meng sent a line drive shot over the net, Laren Baldowsky followed with a kill and a service ace, and Tauja Durham tallied a spike that tied the set at 20. Durham added another kill, Hutch committed two costly errors, and Baldowsky sent the home bench into a frenzy when she blocked a Blue Dragon attack to give the Broncbusters a two-point victory.

"Tauja was huge for us tonight," Hiltz said. "Having her ready to come in and play a position she hadn't had a chance to practice much at all was probably the most important piece needed for us to win tonight."

Garden City took their foot off the gas in the third set. The Blue Dragons turned an 11-11 game into a 7-2 spurt that put Hutchinson in front for good. Then, Meng's service error gave the road team the set.

"We let them back in the match in that second set," Hiltz admitted. "That third set was on me. I told the girls afterwards that I'm most proud of the way they played in the third set despite my error."

The Broncbusters left no doubt in the fourth.

With Hutchinson up by two, the Broncbusters ripped off eight straight points, capped by Sherman's kill that made it 11-5 Garden City. Meng added a block, Durham smashed one past two Hutchinson defenders, and Karlin unleashed a cross-court fastball that snuck just inside the right boundary. Following a Durham kill, the Broncbusters had two set points, finally putting the match away when Vargas set up Meng, who tallied the final blow with a kill down the middle.

"To beat a quality program like Hutchinson says a lot about our girls," Hiltz added.

With the win, the Broncbusters improved to 3-0 on the season. They play Odessa, Texas, Friday morning in day one of the Wrangler Classic.