By Mike Pilosof
Ranger, TX-After snapping a 42-match losing streak with a euphoric victory over Butler on Wednesday, the Broncbusters found themselves on the wrong end on Friday in the Lonestar state. Garden City dropped two more during the opening day of the Wrangler Round up, falling to New Mexico in four (25-20, 19-25, 15-25, 24-26) and Ranger in three (24-26, 16-25, 12-25). The Broncbusters are now 1-12 on the season.
"We were just terrible in all aspects of the game," Head Coach Patrick Hiltz said. "As much as we progressed on Wednesday, we went backwards today."
Early in the first match, Garden City looked just as sharp as they did 48 hours earlier. The Broncbusters went back-and-forth with the Thunderbirds before slamming the door shut with a Katie McHugh kill. But in the second and third sets, mistakes put the Broncbusters in a hole. Then in the fourth, Garden City built a nice cushion and was up four, 23-19, late in the frame. But just like the previous set, errors eventually did the road squad in. Tied at 24, the Thunderbirds scored the final two points to close out the set.
"Twice today, we went on good runs to get back into the set and tie it up only to make an error to let them off the hook," Hiltz added.
In the second match, Garden City jumped out to a 14-9 advantage in the first set. After a Ranger timeout, the Rangers answered with a 7-1 run. The teams exchanged points before the Broncbusters surged back in front 22-20. But with the match tied at 24, Garden City committed a couple of unforced errors that gave the Rangers the set.
"We made a lot of mindless, undisciplined contacts and decisions with the ball today, and it cost us two more wins," Hiltz said.
In the second set, Ranger led by as many as 10 points before cruising to a nine-point win. Then in the final stanza, the Rangers were up double digits most of the way.
"I know I sound like a broken record, but it's truly not about volleyball skill or ability," Hiltz said. "It's about mentality and having that competitive drive that most athletes have."
Garden City closes out the classic on Saturday vs. Cisco at 9 a.m. and Laredo at 1 p.m.