Broncbusters sweep Pratt in three
Garden City Community College Head Coach Patrick Hiltz was the first one to admit that Saturday's showing vs. Barton was almost like an out-of-body experience. After all, the team hadn't played in more than two weeks, thanks to health and safety protocols. Five days later, and with their legs back underneath them, the Broncbusters returned to form, and at times, it was beautiful to watch.
Freshman Reagan Karlin had 16 kills, Remi Vargas added 28 assists, and Garden City swept Pratt 25-18, 25-22, and 28-26. With the win, the Broncbusters improved to 8-7 overall and 4-1 in conference. They also leapfrogged Hutchinson to move into third place in the Jayhawk West.
The Broncbusters 1-2 punch of Vargas and Karlin have been a handful for opposing teams all season. But the two-week break disrupted their timing. On Thursday, it was back and on display in front of a home crowd that they've been entertaining for more than a decade.
In the opening set, Vargas setup her former high school teammate for a kill; then tallied a pair of service aces that fueled a 7-0 run that put the Broncbusters up five. After Pratt rallied back to tie it at 10, Alli Meng lasered an attack down the middle, Vargas setup Pulelehua Keb for a pair of spikes before Karlin's swing landed just inside the line for a 19-16 advantage. Angel Sherman added a kill before Keb and Karlin finished the Beavers off with back-to-back spikes to take the set.
Garden City jumped all over Pratt in the second.
The Broncbusters scored the first three points and were up 10-3 once Victoria Gehret notched a service ace. Keb punctuated a pretty crosscourt kill, Angel Sherman blocked a Pratt attack at the net; then cranked a kill through the middle of the Pratt defense, and Vargas setup Karlin and Meng for spikes putting Garden City up 21-17. But the Beavers didn't go away, pulling to within one on Karlin's hitting error. However, that was the extent of the anxiety in the second stanza.
A Pratt service error coupled with Karlin's ace, and Tauja Durham's kill, put the Broncbusters firmly in command 2-0.
But the road team didn't make it easy on Hiltz's bunch in the third.
Pratt scored the first three points before the Broncbusters responded with five straight. But the problem was that every Garden City attack was met with resistance from an eighth-place scrappy team that had nothing to lose, and the Broncbusters didn't exactly help the cause with a slew of unforced errors.
Meng's attack sailed wide right, and Pratt was up 7-6. It was of seven lead changes in the third. Neither team led by more than two the rest of the way, with Keb's kill giving the Broncbusters match point at 24-22. But Morgan Schrag powered a ball down the middle, and Nadja Bulatovic blocked a Garden City attack. Facing another match point, the Beavers countered again with Avery Smith's kill that evened the set at 25. In fact, the road team spoiled three match points before Garden City finally ended things when Karlin's line drive kill skipped just inside the line.
Garden City was in action again on Friday at Dodge City.