By Mike Pilosof
Photo by Adam Shrimplin
Great Bend, KS-Garden City looked like they were still drained following an emotional five-set loss to No. 21 Colby on Wednesday.
Migle Mazurkeviciute had 11 kills, Karina de Oliveira added 23 digs, and Barton swept the Broncbusters 13-25, 10-25, 21-25 Friday night. Garden City finished the regular season 7-28 and 4-12 in conference. They travel to Colby for the first round of the playoffs on Wednesday.
"While our effort was there, it was an unfocused effort the first two sets," Head Coach Patrick Hiltz said afterwards. "We understood the game plan, but our attention to detail was severely lacking and even absent at times."
Unfortunately, all the hustle plays went the Cougars way. In the first set, de Oliveira made a diving save to keep a rally alive that led to a kill. That was followed by a Victoria O'Keefe ace that put Barton up 14-7 and forced Hiltz to use a timeout. That did little to slow the Cougars down though as Barton followed the stoppage with a 10-2 run, and finished off the set with O'Keffe's crosscourt kill that fell just left of a diving Alexandra Jackson.
"We made some plays tonight; even forced some errors by them," Hiltz added. "Unfortunately, it wasn't enough."
Barton used another big run to open up a 17-8 advantage in the second set. The home team then closed it out when Mackenzie Pease blocked Katie McHugh's attack.
"Hopefully we learned what needs to happen to come out and have a focused effort from the beginning," Hiltz said.
The Broncbusters appeared reenergized in the third, taking a one-point edge in the middle of the set. But Mazurkeviciute's missile down the middle put the Cougars back on top. Then, once Garden City pulled to with one, 22-21, Barton answered by scoring the final three points to complete the sweep.
"We will need that kind of mental effort in order for us to put ourselves in a position to pull off an upset on Wednesday."