BY JIM MISUNAS
"C'mon, coach (Shelly) Duvall, get the brooms out," yelled a Panther supporter.
Great Bend's volleyball team achieved that goal beating Dodge City 25-18, 25-21, 25-14 to sweep the Red Demons Thursday.
Panther defensive specialist Sydney Unruh achieved a goal by surpassing 1,000 serves successfully received.
The red-hot Panthers (14-4) delivered a triple threat with Olivia Mull contributing 11 kills out of 15 attempts (73%) and Jenna Mauler and Rachel Panzer added 10 kills apiece. Panzer spiked four winners to boost the Panthers' lead from 12-10 to 19-10 in the third set.
"When we get on a roll like that, momentum is on our side," Panzer said. "When we keep killing it, we get more pumped up. We've got a lot of weapons. When someone gets going, you want to bring it back to them."
Panzer, Mull, Panzer and Alyssa Herter provided key winners in the first set. Unruh and Jenna Mauler provided their typical hustle to chase down Dodge City's spikes.
Mauler and Brynn Boxberger jump started the second set with five winners for a 10-3 lead. Mull and Boxberger hit winners for a 21-5 lead when Dodge City rallied.
The Demons' hard-hitting Sara Ramirez and Audrey Phelps suddenly hit winner-after-winner and Dodge City's defense shockingly returned every free ball. The Red Demons reeled off a 16-3 run and fought off five set points before Mauler hit the deciding winner for a 25-21 final.
Panzer and Boxberger triggered 17-5 third set surge with winners at the net for a 19-10 lead. Mull delivered two winners in the final stretch for a 25-14 victory.
Coach Duvall believes the defense jump starts the Panthers' accurate spiking.
"The girls see how well they can play when they work together," Duvall said. "Our team chemistry is outstanding."
The Panthers feature several good athletic jumpers.
"We have a lot of power in multiple areas. When our front row Rachel Panzer, Brynn Boxberger and Jenna Mauler get fired up and swing hard, we put balls on the floor. I tell them, they've got to swing hard at the ball. We started swinging hard. The weight room has helped. They are gaining their confidence and know they can do it."
The Panthers will compete in their home invitational Saturday.
PANTHER STATS—Jayden Johnson 1 kill, 2 digs, 4 assists; 1 kill, 2 digs, 4 assists, 3 serves received; Kayli Shull 1 serve received; Alyssa Herter 5 kills, 15 serves, 1 block, 19 assists, 4 serves received; Olivia Mull 11 kills, 7 serves, 1 block, 6 digs; Brynn Boxberger 5 kills, 7 serves, 1 block; Jenna Mauler 10 kills, 13 serves, 17 digs, 11 serves received; Sydney Unruh 2 serves, 21 digs, 4 assists, 19 serves received; Rachel Panzer 10 kills, 15 serves, 1 block, 13 digs, 12 served received; Zoe Jerke 15 serves, 7 digs, 11 assists.
SATURDAY GREAT BEND TOURNAMENT
9 a.m.—Great Bend vs. Ulysses; Hays High vs. Hutchinson; 10—Ulysses vs. Salina Central; Hutchinson vs. Phillipsburg; 11—Great Bend vs. Hays; Phillipsburg vs. Salina Central; noon—Great Bend vs. Phillipsburg; Ulysses vs. Hays; 1—Salina Central vs. Hays; Hutchinson vs. Ulysses; 2—Great Bend vs. Salina Central; Phillipsburg vs. Hays; 2—Salina Central vs. Hutchinson; Phillipsburg vs. Ulysses; 3—Great Bend vs. Hutchinson