The 20th-ranked Otero Junior College volleyball team played at home for the last time this season on Monday, and OJC coach Jordan Willis found the opportunity to play some of his substitutes late in the match.
The result of the match was a three-set victory by the Lady Rattlers over Garden City (Kan.) Community College at the McDivitt Center.
"I think it's a great time especially making this push," Willis said. "So I can count of them possibly in this last half of the subregion season. You never know and I think it's important to get some experience when that happens."
OJC scored the first two points of the first set, but the Lady Broncbusters tied the score. After trading the next two side outs, the Lady Rattlers had another 2-0 run to increase their lead to 5-3.
The teams then exchanged the next five side outs before Otero went on an 11-2 run to increase its lead to 18-8. Garden City scored two straight points and after trading the next four possession, the Lady Rattlers finished the set on a 5-1 run to take a 25-13 victory.
Garden City scored the first point of the second set, but OJC went on a 5-1 run to claim a 5-2 edge. The teams then exchanged the next nine side outs before the Lady Rattlers went on another 5-1 rally to extend their lead to 14-8.
After exchanging three side outs, Otero again went on a 5-1 run to build the lead to 20-11. The Lady Rattlers then scored five of the final eight points to win the second set 25-14.
Garden City scored the first point of the third set, but Otero took a 2-1 lead. The Lady Broncbusters regained the lead at 3-2, however, the Lady Rattlers scored three unanswered points to take a 5-3 edge.
Garden City tied the score and after a brief Otero side out, the Lady Broncbusters took a 7-6 edge.
That would be the last time Garden City would be in the lead. OJC came back with seven consecutive points to take a 13-7 advantage.
The Lady Rattlers' lead grew to 16-9, however, the Lady Broncbusters scored three in a row to reduce their deficit to 16-12.
Otero scored four in a row for a 20-12 lead. The Lady Rattlers eventually increased the lead to 24-17, but Garden City scored four late points to close within 24-21.
Ashley Alfonso scored the final point to give the set to the Lady Rattlers 25-21.
Ema Causevic led the Otero offense with 10 kills and Alfonso and Anouk Van Noord both had nine. Marissa Schelling had seven kills.
Brilane Manchego led in assists with 33. Elizabeth Kinsey led in service aces with three.
Otero (21-2, 4-1 NJCAA Region IX South) will be on the road this week. On Thursday, the Lady Rattlers will play Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff, Nebraska. On Friday, OJC will play at McCook (Neb.) Community College, and on Saturday, they will play 19th-ranked Northeastern Junior College in Sterling.
"Western Nebraska, I think that they are going to looking for a little revenge," Willis said. "They beat NJC last week, so they're feeling good. McCook were extremely tough in our last meeting and NJC beat us here. It's going to be a battle, and we'll see where everything lays come Saturday afternoon as far as these next three matches go."