GCCC volleyball goes 0-2 on Friday

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Tauja Durham, center, and Angel Sherman combine to block a shot by Hutchinson's Shadee Briggs Jan. 25 at Perryman Athletic Complex.

Garden City Community College’s volleyball team travelled to Texas for matches on Friday, going 0-2 on the day.


ODESSA, Texas - In their first three matches, Garden City completely outplayed their opponent. But on Friday, the competition level got a little stiffer. And with that, came a major learning curve for Patrick Hiltz's team.

Savannah Marenco and Andrea Spasojevic combined for 25 kills, Siena Decambra tallied 19 assists, and fifth-ranked Odessa handed the Broncbusters their first loss of the season in three sets 16-25, 20-25, 12-25 Friday afternoon at the OC Sports Center.

"It's tough to tell what we need to work on when the biggest problem is our own energy and effort," Hiltz said afterwards.

That energy was a big reason behind the Broncbusters early-season resurgence. But for the most part, there was something off on Friday.

The Wranglers broke open a 6-6 deadlock in the first set with an 8-4 run. And after the teams traded points, Odessa went for the kill. Spasojevic dropped in a perfect attack before Angel Sherman's spike landed out of bounds. Spasojevic then fired a vicious service ace before Marenco added two kills, polishing off a 9-4 spurt that gave the home team the opening stanza.

"We looked like we wanted to be anywhere but on the volleyball court today," Hiltz added.

The Broncbusters showed a little more fight in the second set erasing an early five-point deficit with five straight points, which included a beautiful exchange between Laren Baldowsky and Tauja Durham. But unforced errors plagued the brown and gold all day, and when Victoria Gehret's serve failed to make it over the net, Odessa grabbed the lead back for good. Marenco added another kill, Lyric Love powered one down the middle, and Gwendolyn McCollough slammed a ball inside the boundary for a 16-13 advantage. A pair of violations against Garden City, coupled with Stavroula Papazoglou's soft touch over the net and Emery Judkins spike, had the Wranglers up 2-0.

"We just can't have that sort of energy against anyone we play, let alone really good teams," Hiltz said.

Not much changed in the third.

Odessa used a 9-3 run, punctuated by McCollough's block to make it 19-11. Then, after Durham's tip found a crease in between the Wranglers defense, Odessa put the match away by scoring the final six points.

"We will get this thing figured out," Hiltz said.


The Broncbusters found themselves with an identity crisis on their hands, one that cost them in their opening match vs. Odessa. Unfortunately, not much changed in Friday's finale.  

Garden City's issues stemmed from an inability to put the ball away, and the end result was a four-set 10-25, 25-20, 17-25, 18-25 loss to Cisco on the opening day of the Wrangler Classic at OC Sports Center.

"I'm disappointed with our effort today," Head Coach Patrick Hiltz said. "We were exposed for our lack of discipline and poor decision making. We were careless with the ball way too much today, and it cost us."

That was apparent in the first set when the Broncbusters committed a multitude of errors including two service miscues early on that had the road team quickly down 8-4. That was followed by Tauja Durham's line-drive shot that ricocheted into the net; Reagan Karlin's attack sailed wide and Angel Sherman's spike missed its target, giving the Wranglers a 10-point edge. But the play of the set came on the final point when Laren Baldowsky had what appeared to be a brilliant kill down the middle, only to have Natalie Otto dig it out perfectly for set point.  

"We need to have a better understanding of the offense, play harder, more disciplined defense and be intelligently aggressive," Hiltz explained.

The Broncbusters responded valiantly in the second set. Remi Vargas and Alli Meng hooked up on a beautiful 1-2 combo, before Vargas found her other former high school teammate, Reagan Karlin for a kill that knotted the frame at 10. Durham pulverized a ball just inside the line, Meng tapped one over softly, and Baldowsky initiated a perfect attack for a 21-17 advantage. Karlin added another kill, which was followed up by a hitting error by the Wranglers, giving the set to Garden City.

"We have talent, and we can make plays, but at this level you have to make good plays several times in a row just to earn one point," Hiltz said.

Whatever momentum the Broncbusters gathered in the second, evaporated the rest of the way. Cisco used a 14-6 run to break open a 7-7 tie in the third, and Garden City never recovered. Eventually, Durham's attack sailed long, and Meng's spike was blocked at the net to give the Wranglers the set. Then in the fourth, Cisco opened things up, building an eight-point lead, 21-13 thanks to another Broncbuster service error. Moments later, Karlin's attack sailed a wide left putting the finishing touches on an already frustrating day.

"We have plenty to work on in practice, but we also need to watch some film and see if we can clean some things up for tomorrow," Hiltz said. "I am confident we can clean it up and play better on Saturday."