Barton downs Garden in three sets

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Emmah Sultz digs a Pratt serve during a match last week at Perryman Athletic Complex.

GREAT BEND - The last time the Broncbusters faced Barton County, Patrick Hiltz's team was coming off a two-week health-and-safety-protocol hiatus, and the Cougars rolled to a three-set win. And while Monday's match was more competitive, Barton County swept Garden City Community College for the second time this season.

Mylena Testoni recorded 12 kills, Maria Santos chipped in 11, and the Cougars polished off a three-set victory over the Broncbusters 25-19, 25-19, 25-11 at Barton Gymnasium.

Now, this match was far from a runaway at the start. The Broncbusters stayed within two points of Barton County, which received votes in the latest polls, in the opening set. But Santos fired down a couple of vicious kills; then added a block, and Barton was up 23-16. The Broncbusters managed to make a game of it when Remi Vargas tallied a service ace, which was followed up by Angel Sherman's block of a Joelle LaForce attack at the net, cutting the deficit to four. The Cougars however, had the last laugh. Tasiah Nunnery, who was a star volleyball and basketball player at Hays High School, blasted a crosscourt kill, and Testoni lasered a spike down the line, giving Barton the opening stanza.

In the second set, it was the visitors that took command early. Vargas and Reagan Karlin hooked up on three separate occasions, Tauja Durham added four powerful kills, and Garden City was up 14-6 forcing Cougars' Head Coach Alan Segal to call timeout. Everything was kind of a blur after that.

Barton County responded with a 10-2 run that included a beautiful Nunnery dig that saved a point. In fact, that score was part of a stretch where the Cougars tallied eight straight to take a four-point edge. It wasn't until Hannah Miller's serve sailed long that the surge finally ended. And even after the Broncbusters got back to within one, the momentum had been zapped. Testoni added a kill from the outside; then teamed up with LaForce for a block at the net, Alli Meng's spike spun wide, and Barton County had a 2-0 advantage.

The final set was all Cougars.

The home team raced out to a 9-2 lead before extending to their first double-digit advantage of the night when Victoria O'Keefe found a soft spot in the middle of the Broncbuster defense. Santos added a kill, Testoni's swing landed inside the right boundary, and the Cougars finished off the sweep.

Barton County won its fifth straight match and did so in rather decisive fashion after back-to-back come-from-behind victories over Butler and Hutchinson. The Cougars improved to 16-3 overall and 8-1 in conference play.

Reagan Karlin had 12 kills for the Broncbusters, which dropped to 8-9 overall and 4-3 in the Jayhawk Conference. Durham added nine kills, and Remi Vargas had 23 assists.

Garden City was at Hutchinson on Tuesday.