Hutchinson, KS-Over the last seven days, Garden City Volleyball Coach Jacquelynne Matula has seen two outside hitters go down with season-ending injuries.
On Wednesday, despite losing in three sets, Matula found out more about her team in one night than she did in more than 12 months on the job.
Nadine Cruz led the way with 11 kills and Page Hiebert added nine assists as No. 20 Hutchinson escaped with a grueling, three-set victory over Garden City 25-16, 25-23, 26-24 Wednesday night at the Sports Arena.
It was Garden City's fifth straight loss.
But the numbers don't tell the entire story.
"We started very slow in the first set," Matula said afterwards. "But after that, we really caught on. We weren't intimidated at all."
After dominating the opening frame, the Blue Dragons found themselves in unfamiliar territory. One of the nation's highly-touted programs commited an uncharacteristic 13 service errors.
In the second set, Garden City jumped out to a 9-5 advantage. But after leading by four points later in the stanza, Hutchinson roared back and overcame a 17-13 deficit to take a 20-19 lead on Hinalei Fihaki's emphatic kill. The Broncbusters did not go away, eventually tying the match at 23 before Hiebert's back-to-back kills closed out the set.
"We just didn't hold on as long as we should have," Matula said. "
If the second set was heartbreaking, the final one was crushing.
Megan Besecker's kill and double block tied things up at 24 in the third set and appeared to swing the momentum. But Katie Jorn slipped one past the Broncbusters front line and Nicole Rutherford ended the match with a service ace.
Garden City dropped to 2-6 overall and 1-3 in conferrence. Hutchinson is now 5-2 and 3-0 in the Jayhawk.