Broncbusters fall at Butler; drop first conference game of the season

Broncbusters fall at Butler; drop first conference game of the season

L, 3-1

By Mike Pilosof

Photo by Adam Shrimplin

El Dorado, KS-At full strength, Garden City is tough to beat. But with three key players out on Wednesday, it was tough sledding.   

Kennedy Kelly had 15 kills, Rainey Aven dished out 45 assists, and Butler edged Garden City in four, 17-25, 28-26, 19-25, 24-26 at the Power Plant. The loss dropped the Broncbusters to 14-4 overall and 3-1 in conference.

After losing the opening set, Garden City trailed 10-7 in the second. Jelena Milovanovic recorded a kill, Butler committed an attack error followed by a net violation. Fiona Arnold then added a spike, and the Broncbusters had an 11-10 advantage. But neither team could pull away with Garden City relinquishing a late two-point edge following a Tola Maczka attack error. But Arnold tied it up with a crosscourt kill, the Grizzlies committed a service error, and Milovanovic powered home an attack to give the Broncbusters the set.

In the third, Garden City watched an early three-point lead evaporate thanks to a 9-2 Butler run that forced Head Coach Patrick Hiltz to call timeout. The Broncbusters responded, and Milovanovic's kill polished off a 7-1 spurt that had the visitors up 15-13. But Garden City appeared to run out of gas. They were called for a double touch, Kelly blocked a Broncbuster attack, and the Grizzlies were up three. Butler closed the frame on a 12-4 surge.

The Broncbusters countered back in the fourth, building what appeared to be a commanding 13-7 advantage following a Grizzlies' service error. In fact, Garden City was still up 20-14 after Apolline Lepuissant's ace. But M'Kenzee Nkansah answered with three powerful kills, Lepuissant's attack sailed long, and the Grizzlies finished the match on a 12-4 run. 

Milovanovic paced the Broncbusters with 14 kills and Arnold had 12. Lepuissant tallied 16 digs, nine kills and seven assists while Emily Jenkins had 12 digs.

Ivy Fink posted 11 kills for Butler, which improved to 9-4 overall and 5-0 in conference. Sydney Morrow added 16 digs.