By Mike Pilosof
Hutchinson, KS-This much is for certain: once the Garden City volleyball team learns to finish, the sky is the limit. Wednesday night could be considered another step in the process.
Sophomore Page Hiebert had a match-high 13 kills, and Hutchinson came back from as many as six points down in the final game to complete a 3-0 sweep of the Broncbusters 25-14, 25-17 and 28-26 at the Sports Arena.
"We really gave the game away at certain times," Garden City Coach Jacquelynne Matula said.
The Broncbusters dominated the third set early on as Tijana Simovic recorded back-to-back aces, helping build a 6-1 lead. Eventually that advantage swelled to 12-6. But the margin did not stick. Hutchinson (3-2, 1-0) stormed back with back-to-back kills to pull to within four. The Blue Dragons eventually evened the match at 19 after Tatyana Ndekwe's block. They took their first lead at 23-22, which forced Matula to call a timeout.
"There are a lot of things that we still need to figure out," Matula said. "That's basically what I told them. We need leadership."
Garden City fought back and held two set points late in the third. But Hutchinson would not go away, eventually tying the match at 26. Then Patricia Joseph and Nina Pevic finished off the brown and gold with back-to-back kills, giving Hutchinson their 19th consecutive home-opening victory.
"We made mistakes early," Matula said. "But we still had our chances to make something happened. Hopefully they learn from it."
In the opening frame, the Broncbusters hung tough. After falling behind 4-1, Garden City (1-4, 0-1) came right back, and Ashley Brown's kill coupled with a Hutchinson service error, one of 12 on the night, tied the game 6-6. But the Blue Dragons answered with a 6-1 spurt to build their advantage to 12-7. That lead never dipped below two, and Hutchinson closed the set on an 11-2 run.
"Our girls do a lot of good things, but we have to be more consistent," Matula said. "We gave them a lot of points tonight."
Hutchinson opened the second game by scoring six of the first seven points. But as they did in the first, Garden City did not go quietly. Brown converted back-to-back soft kills, and the Broncbusters got to within two at 8-6. However, back-to-back errors by Garden City shifted the momentum, and Katie Jorn's ace extended the home squad's lead to 12-7. The Blue Dragons finished the set on a 9-4 run, which culminated with Hiebert's 10th kill.
Garden City was outhit 41-23. Shaney Tiumalo paced the Broncbusters with eight kills while Simovic had five service aces.
Next up: Garden City vs. Mountain View @ Blinn, TX on Friday—11 a.m.