Broncbusters down Pratt in three

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Alli Meng makes a kill against Hutchinson Jan. 25 at Perryman Athletic Complex.

PRATT - Patrick Hiltz called the Texas experiment a major learning experience for his team. And on Monday night, they got back to playing the way they did before they traveled south. And for the most part, it was pretty impressive to watch.

Reagan Karlin and Alli Meng each had eight kills, Remi Vargas totaled 25 assists, and Garden City rolled over Pratt 25-20, 25-16, 25-15 at the Beaver Dome.

"I'm impressed with this team's resiliency," Hiltz said afterwards. "We adapt to change and understand that some circumstances are out of our control."

Entering Monday night, freshman Tori Gehret, was second in the nation in kills. But she didn't make the trip, forcing Hiltz to slide Pulelehua Keb into that spot. Garden City didn't miss a beat.

The Broncbusters raced out to an 8-2 lead in the opening set. Once Pratt crawled back to take the lead, Garden City went for the kill, closing the frame on a 12-4 run.

"I thought Pulele really stepped up for us and was fantastic once she settled down," Hiltz explained.

In the second set, it was the freshman Vargas who made the play of the match, diving into the referee's chair while saving a ball that eventually ended with a Karlin kill. Keb added a spike down the middle, Vargas setup Tauja Durham beautifully at the net, and Meng finished off a crosscourt exclamation mark, putting the Broncbusters up eight. Durham eventually finished off the set with a powerful attack.

"We know all we can control is how we respond, and the ladies responded beautifully tonight," Hiltz added. I thought Alli played very well, and I thought we adjusted well on the fly."

On two separate occasions in the third set, Garden City found themselves three points. But a pair of Laren Baldowsky blocks coupled with a kill by the freshman from Wisconsin ignited 13-3 surge that was polished off by Angel Sherman's block that netted match point.

"I knew this team would step up being a player down, and we did," Hiltz said. "Hopefully we can get healthy for this weekend and keep things rolling."

The Broncbusters are off until Friday when they play in the McCook, Neb., tournament, opening against Lamar at 10 am.