Great Bend coach Shelly Duvall was named Western Athletic Conference volleyball Coach of the Year for the Panthers’ record-breaking 28-7 season.
WAC runner-up Great Bend was a 5A substate runner-up after losing a three-set match to Goddard High School.
“Our key was communication,” Duvall said. “The girls accepted their roles perfectly. Once, they started playing for the team, we made amazing progress. The girls believed in the program we’ve built. Opposing teams weren’t always prepared for our defenisve skills and how smart we played at the net.”
Great Bend’s leading hitter Jenna Mauler and defensive specialist Sydney Unruh earned first-team All-WAC honors.
Mauler finished with a team-leading 220 kills, 336 digs, 213 serves received and 46 serving aces.
“Jenna may be 5-foot-7, but she’s played 6-foot-1. She played with no fear,” Duvall said. “She was definitely a great all-around player. She made sure everyone was focused.”
Sydney Unruh delivered 490 serves received, 447 digs, 10 kills and 5 aces.
“Syndey’s teammates knew she’d be in the right spot,” Duvall said. “She always directed the ball to the right spot. She had a knack of knowing where to go.”
Garden City senior Remi Vargas was named WAC Player of the Year. The Buffaloes (33-5) won a ninth-straight WAC championship and a fifth straight trip to the Class 6A state tournament.
Other first-team All-WAC players are Garden City’s Reagan Karlin, the 2018 WAC Player of the Year; Hays High’s Tasiah Nunnery the 2017 WAC Player of the Year; and Liberal’s Aubrey Warden.
Second-team selections feature Great Bend’s Alyssa Herter, Dodge City’s Audrey Phelps and Sara Ramirez, Liberal’s Machia Mullens and Sarah Mein and Garden City’s Kelbi Richter.
Great Bend’s Herter delivered 377 assists, 144 digs, 140 kills, 30 aces and 33 blocks.
Vargas had 856 assists in the 38 matches to go along with 262 digs on the defensive side of the net. Her all-around skills also shone with her serve percentage of 98.7 percent, highest on the team. Vargas finished with 2,640 assists and 729 digs.
FIRST TEAM—Remi Vargas, Garden City, 12; Tasiah Nunnery, Hays, 12; Reagan Karlin, Garden City, 12; Sydney Unruh, Great Bend, 11; Jenna Mauler, Great Bend, 12; Aubrey Warren, Liberal, 11
SECOND TEAM—Audrey Phelps, Dodge City, 12; Machia Mullens, Liberal, 12; Alyssa Herter, Great Bend, 12; Kelbi Richter, Garden City, 12; Sarah Mein, Liberal, 12; Sara Ramirez, Dodge City, 12
PLAYER OF YEAR—Remi Vargas, Garden City
COACH OF YEAR—Shelly Duvall, Great Bend