By Mike Pilosof
Photo by Adam Shrimplin
Garden City, KS-To think where the Broncbuster volleyball program was just 12 months ago and compare it to where it is now, it's night and day. But one thing Patrick Hiltz's team is still trying to figure out: how to finish.
Ilani Myers had 21 kills, Karleeann Ramos added 18 digs, and Colby erased a two sets to none deficit to beat Garden City in five 25-19, 26-24, 17-25, 21-25, 8-15 Wednesday night at Conestoga Arena.
"First off, I'm really proud of this team and their effort tonight," Hiltz said afterwards. "We wanted this one for the sophomores, and it showed. We gave every ounce of effort and energy we had in our bodies."
In the early going, Garden City looked like the No. 21-ranked team in the country. Katarina Vojvodic's powerful spike had the Broncbusters up 7-4. After the Trojans fought back to even the score, Angel Sherman added a pair of kills, Katie McHugh dropped in a perfect serve, Vojvodic lasered a crosscourt kill, and the brown and gold had a six-point, opening-set win.
"We just flat ran out of gas," Hiltz said. "We weren't able to pace ourselves very well. We played with more energy and enthusiasm in the first two sets than we have had for any two sets at any time this year."
McHugh started the second set off with an ace, and Sherman punctuated a long rally with a kill down the middle for a 3-1 edge. Following a couple of service errors that put the Trojans in front 10-7, Garden City rallied back to tie it once Colby was whistled for a double hit. After the teams exchanged points, the Broncbusters took the lead for good with Vojvodic's kill. Sherman dropped a spike just inside the line, Tameia Davis added a kill, and the Broncbusters had what appeared to be a commanding 2-0 advantage.
"It was subtle, but from the third set on, we were really fighting fatigue," Hiltz explained.
Garden City never found any rhythm in the third. The Trojans built a seven-point edge before finishing off the set with a Broncbuster service error. Then in the fourth, Colby broke open a 21-21 tie by scoring the final four points to even the match.
"Best part about it is that even though we were fighting fatigue, we were in control for most of the fourth set," Hiltz said.
In the fifth set, the tank ran dry. Colby broke open a one-point affair with a 5-0 spurt, capped with back-to-back blocks to close out the match.
"I love how we played tonight," Hiltz said. "If we can learn to pace ourselves, we will finish the season playing really good volleyball."
Ali Jackson led the Broncbusters with 20 digs, while Vojvodic tallied 13 kills.
Garden City closes out the regular season on Friday at Barton. Match time set for 6:30 p.m.