Garden City, KS-With their postseason chances having already dwindled, Garden City Coach Jacquelynne Matula had a clear and simple message to her team:
"Our job now is to knock off some of these ranked teams and play spoiler," she said.
On Monday night at home, Hutchinson never allowed that to happen.
Freshman Nadine cruze and Patricia Johnson owned the nets, setting the tone early and often as the Blue Dragons took down the Broncbusters in straight sets 25-8, 27-25 and 25-14.
"We didn't fight at all," Matula said afterwards. "They (Hutch) took it right to us."
Hutchinson, who was just dropped from the top 20 this past week, scored the first six points before Garden City (4-21, 1-10) got on the board because of a Hutchinson error. That was the only mistake the Blue Dragons made in the first set.
At one point, Hutch scored 10 straight points to take a 16-1 advantage. Garden City never got any closer than 15 after that.
Cruze recorded five kills in the frame.
"I keep saying it, but we have to learn to finish," Matula added. "We're not there yet. They know what needs to be done."
The second set was eerily similar to the final stanza between the two squads back in September where Hutchinso held on 26-24 to complete the sweep. On Monday, Garden City battled back from an early deficit to tie the set 9-9 on Vanessa Gmunder's block. Two Hutch errors and the Broncbusterrs had their first lead of the night.
"That second set was a perfect example of what we can be," Matula explained. "But again, we didn't finish."
The Blue Dragons, who have won six out of their last eight matches, came right back to take the lead 10-9 on Patricia Joseph's emphatic kill. But the Broncbusters stayed with it, tying the match at 16-16 with a block by Madison Troyer and again at 24-24 when Dara Roulier knocked one down. In the end though, Johnson blasted a kill down the middle, and the Blue Dragons squeaked out a two-point victory.
"I wish we played the first and third sets the way we did the second," Matula said. "It just never happened."
Hutchinson polished off their eigth conference win by dominating the third set.
"It's a process," Matula said. "But it's just been one of those years. These girls are fighters."
Garden City lost their fifth match in a row and 10th in their last 11 outings.
The Blue Dragons improed to 8-2 in the conference and 17-11 overall.