Karlin named to all-conference first team
It was a season of progress for Broncbuster volleyball, even if their preseason vision didn't matchup with their postseason reality. Yet, there was a major light at the end of the tunnel, and on Wednesday, the team was recognized for their efforts.
Three Garden City Community College players were named to the All-Conference squad on Wednesday with outside hitter Reagan Karlin making the first team, libero Victoria Gehret was a second teamer, and setter Remi Vargas was an honorable mention selection.
"I'm happy for all three ladies," Head Coach Patrick Hiltz said. "Each of them were key pieces to keeping us competitive on the court this year, and it's great that the region coaches saw that as well. Postseason awards are the ultimate 'job well done' that a player can receive save for winning the last game. I think having three girls honored shows how much we are improving as a program."
Karlin was considered the prized recruit of the offseason. The one-time Creighton commit finished second in the conference with 371 kills, fifth in kills per set (3.86) and first in total attacks (1123). In addition, her 414 points ranked second in the league behind Cowley County’s Iva Halacheva.
"Reagan was one of the best hitters in the country this year, so her first-team selection is a reflection of her efforts and her performance this season," Hiltz stated.
The freshman tallied 20 or more kills four times including a season-best 28 in a dramatic five-set loss to Eastern Wyoming on Feb. 4. She had 27 vs. Western Nebraska on Feb. 6, 20 against Victoria on Jan. 30 and 24 in the Broncbusters regular-season finale vs. Butler on March 25.
How Gehret landed on the second team is more of a question mark than anything. The freshman recorded a conference best 499 digs. In fact, Gehret finished sixth in the nation in that department and was one of only nine players across the country who had at least 450 digs. She posted a season-high 43 vs. Butler in a five-set win on March 12 earning her National Defensive Player of the Week honors.
"Tori was one of the best players at her position in the country this year as well so first-team all-conference would make sense for her," Hiltz explained. "Unfortunately, setters and liberos don't get the recognition they truly deserve, so she fell to the second team."
Finally, Vargas was the leading catalyst for the Broncbuster attack. Her 774 assists ranked seventh in the conference. She averaged 8.32 per set (10th most in the Jayhawk) and sprinkled in 274 digs (23rd).
"Remi was the oil to the engine that made our team operate at its max at all times," Hiltz said. "Unfortunately, she also plays one of those positions that gets overlooked by the untrained eye."