Garden City falls to Colby for second time

GCCC Sports Information Services
Garden City Community College's Reagan Karlin, left, knocks the ball back to the Colby side on a hit by the Trojans' Savannah Adams as Karlin and teammate Pulelehua Keb go up for a block Tuesday at Perryman Athletic Complex.

It's tough to beat a team twice in the same season let alone within a 24-hour period. But here they were, thanks to COVID-19 and the scheduling fiasco it has caused in 2021. Yet, that didn't seem to bother Colby.

Macarena Ruiz had 10 kills, Clair Chouloux added seven, and the Trojans took down Garden City Community College on consecutive days in four sets 20-25, 16-25, 25-23, 23-25. The Broncbusters lost for the fifth time in their last seven matches, dropping to 10-12 overall and 6-6 in the Jayhawk Conference.

"We have to grow up a little bit," Head Coach Patrick Hiltz said afterwards. "There's a lot of stuff that we need to clean up. It's time for freshman to grow up and not be freshman anymore."

Despite losing in four, Garden City gave Colby all they could handle. Back-to-back kills by Reagan Karlin and Alli Meng in the first set tied things up 6-6. But that's when the Trojans rattled off nine of the next 12 points to open up a 15-9 advantage. From that point on, they controlled the set, building their largest lead when Tauja Durham's attack sailed wide, putting the road team up 24-16. Once the Broncbusters fought off three set points, it was Olivia Navarro finishing things off with a kill.

"I thought we were more tired last night than tonight," Hiltz explained. "I thought our energy was much better in this match. But we still have some people that look like they're tired. We just can't use that as an excuse. We're not the only ones playing back-to-backs."

After the teams exchanged rallies in the second set, Colby got back on track. A pair of Choloux attacks produced two powerful kills, Marta Roicka dropped in a service ace, and the Trojans had a 12-7 lead. They pushed that to seven at 18-11; then closed the set with a Roicka kill and a MJ Trujillo service ace to take a 2-0 advantage.

"We have players that are just out of position," Hiltz said. "We have to understand what our job is and do our job."

The Broncbusters managed to get back in the match in the third. Remi Vargas setup Durham for a kill; then assisted Karlin on a couple of attacks, Durham dropped in a service ace, and Pulelehua Keb blocked one at the net, putting Garden City up 17-14. That's when Meng fired a crosscourt kill, Ruiz was charged with an attack error, and Karlin slammed one down the middle for a 24-18 edge.

"We talked about being more competitive tonight," Hiltz added "I thought they showed that at times."

Garden City though almost coughed up that six-point advantage. The Trojans scored five straight to make it a one-point game. And it appeared they would tie the match when Roicka loaded up for an attack on the left side. But Colby was called for a net violation forcing a fourth set"I don't think we used our middles enough tonight," Hiltz said.

Even so, the Broncbusters had their chances in the fourth. A Vargas block cut Colby's lead to one, 21-20. But Keb's ensuing serve was a foot too long, which was followed by a Durham attack error, Roicka dropped in a kill as did Choloux, who's emphatic spike painted the back line, and Colby had match point. That's when Ruiz ended it with a kill.

"We're just still making mistakes that we were making in January," Hiltz stated. "Until that stuff gets cleaned up, it really doesn't matter what's going on, on the other side of the net for us."

Karlin finished the night with 18 kills for Garden City, and Durham had 11. Remi Vargas sprinkled in 33 assists.  

Garden City hosts Dodge City on Thursday for a 6:30 p.m. match.