By Mike Pilosof
Photo by Adam Shrimplin
Dodge City, KS-You have to give Patrick Hiltz and his girls a ton of credit this season. After going winless in 2018, Garden City has shown promise in the second half of the season. And it continued on Wednesday night against their arch rival.
"I knew Dodge City was going to give us a tough match tonight, and they did," Hiltz said afterwards. "They played their butts off. We were not good by an means on our side, but we made enough plays to win."
Garden City scrapped and clawed all night. In the first set, they fell behind 10-8 before answering with a 6-1 run to take a three-point edge. Once the Broncbusters regained traction, they closed the set by scoring the final eight points, punctuated by an Erving kill and a Dodge City hitting error that ended the frame.
"They made us earn this win," Hiltz said.
The Broncbusters played from behind again in the second set, at one point trailing 14-10. But as they did in the first, Garden City found some rhythm, and Vojvodic's crosscourt kill put them in front 18-17. From there, the two teams exchanged rallies. Then, with the set tied at 24, Vojvodic, lunged to save a ball from hitting the floor. As the Broncbusters got it back over, it was Davis that finished the point with a block at the net. That was followed by Angel Sherman's soft touch, flipping a ball just inside the end line on set point.
"We weren't perfect," Hiltz said. "We were off by just enough to make things difficult. Dodge did some things, and made us uncomfortable all night."
That was clearly evident in the third and fourth sets where Dodge City took command. The Conquistadors rolled to an easy win in the third before finishing off a close set in the fourth with Maria Fernanda Alcantara's left-handed spike.
That setup a dramatic finish.
Garden City finally strung enough offense together in the final set to put Dodge city away. But it was far from easy. In fact the Broncbusters had a four-point edge dissolve in moments, thanks to a couple of unforced errors. However, Vojvodic quickly righted the ship with a powerful kill from the ride sideline that ended the match.
"In the end, I'm proud of the way we persevered and found a way to win," Hiltz explained. "We were good when we needed to be."
Erving finished the night with four blocks, while Davis added three for Garden City, who snapped a two-match slide to improve to 7-25 overall and 4-9 in conference.
Next up: Garden City at Pratt-Saturday, Oct. 26-2 p.m.