The Great Bend Middle School 7th-grade volleyball team fought hard to capture the Western Athletic Conference title on its home court.
Eventual runner-up Hays Middle School earned the top seed with a head-to-head victory over Great Bend Oct. 1.
The Panthers played well in pool play and defeated Dodge City Middle School in the semifinals.
Hays swept the first set after Great Bend struggled to ewjoy consistent serves.
Great Bend started the second the set with the same mantra coach Jessica Nairn had been repeating all year, “Make An Impact.”
Makenzie Premer changed roles and set while Rylee Prilling served to give the Panthers a lead. Key serves by Macy Nachtigal and kills by Emilee Hall and Harley Dougherty led the Panthers to victory in the second set.
As any good championship game goes, the tiebreaker, a set to 15 points, was all that laid between Great Bend and the WAC championship banner.
Hays bolted to a 4-1 lead. Paige Thexton and Annah Baldwin made great passes to allow setters, Sadie Spray and Lauryn Davis, to make some heads up plays that gave Great Bend the edge.
Looking at the defensive holes, Coach Nairn called on Ashton McMillen to serve, and she stepped up and delivered. Prilling was up to serve match point and the Panthers won the championship set 15-11, ending the season with a 26-3 record.
“The girls deserved that win,” Niarn said. “They worked hard in practice and it showed today as tipping and back row attacks become a key part of our offense. I’ll miss all of the girls. The B team came over and supported the A team players. As a whole, they are great teammates. I look forward to hearing more of their success across all sports.”
7TH GRADE B TEAM — The Lady Panther B-team battled hard with a 25-11, 25-21 win over Dodge City before falling to Liberal Eisenhower 25-19, 25-23 and Dodge City Comanche 17-25, 25-27, 15-15. The 7th-grade B team ends a 20-6 record.
First year coach Miranda Drouillard was extremely impressed with her team’s willingness to do whatever was asked of them.
“I was proud of the way they acted like a team on-and-off the court,” she said.