A measure of unfamiliarity will be unmasked on Saturday morning during the Western Athletic Conference volleyball tournament at Hays High School.
Great Bend opens play against Garden City at 10 a.m., followed by a match against defending WAC champion Dodge City at 11, Liberal at noon and Hays at 1 p.m.
“Our focus is on the WAC tournament this Saturday,” Great Bend head coach Kelsey Perry said. “We don’t play any WAC teams except for our first week in Garden City, so we are ready to get into the conference tournament.
“The WAC Tournament is always an exciting time of the season. It is a jumpstart into regionals. Every team is fighting for WAC Cup points, and the seniors are nearing the end of their high school careers.”
Without question, the Lady Panthers are hoping their experiences this season can help them come together and play their best volleyball of the season.
“It is a great time of year and we are excited to head to Hays on Saturday,” Perry said. “When you get to this point, records don’t matter.
“The last few months are over and now you have to be great.”
Lady Panthers fall
in road matches
Great Bend traveled to Philllipsburg on Tuesday for non-conference matches against the host school and Smith Center.
Phillipsburg topped GBHS by identical scores, 25-17, 25-17.
“Against Phillipsburg we felt like we did not take advantage of opportunities they gave us,” Perry said. “We had one rotation where we scored several points in a row the first game with Katelyn Henning serving, but we could never put together a big enough run to take the lead.
“Phillipsburg has two great attackers and we did a good job of not letting them control the game. Rachel Harris hit the ball very well for our team against Phillipsburg. Liz Kutina is our leading hitter and we just couldn’t get her the ball enough this match.”
In the statistics chart, Tarynn Stueder had 15 assists and seven digs. Brandi Schneider also had seven digs for the Lady Panthers.
“Phillipsburg is No. 3 in 3A and our girls know we had opportunities to beat them and that is frustrating,” Perry said. “We blocked the ball well against them, and that is something you have to do to stay in the game and give yourself a chance to win
Smith Center dealt GBHS setbacks of 25-12, 25-14.
“We knew Smith Center was going to be a tough match as they are No. 1 in 2A,” Perry said. “There hasn’t been a night we haven’t played a ranked team this year. That is great competition and shows us what level we want to be at.
“We hit the ball a lot better against Smith Center. We are struggling some with our serve-receive, which then has our hitters out of position. When we pass and set the ball well, we are successful and that needs to be our No. 1 goal. Volleyball goes in spurts and we need to capitalize on those moments.”
Stueder had 10 assists and seven digs, Kylee Spray came off the bench to record eight digs and Katelyn Henning had seven digs.
In junior varsity play, Great Bend lost to a three-game match to Phillipsburg, 25-16, 10-25,12-15, and was swept by Smith Center, 25-17, 25-13.
The Lady Panthers JV record stands at 21-13.
HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
Phillipsburg 2, Great Bend 0 (25-17, 25-17)
Tarynn Stueder — 15 Assists, 1 Block, 1 Kill, 7 Digs
Rachel Harris — 5 Kills, 4 Digs
Brandi Schneider — 3 Kills, 7 Digs
Liz Kutina — 2 Blocks, 2 Digs
Kaylie Doll — 1 Kill, 1 Block
Kelsie Doll — 1 Ace, 2 Digs
Katelyn Henning — 2 Aces, 2 Assists, 1 Kill, 11 Digs
Brenna Haines — 3 Kills, 3 Blocks
Kelsey Crosby — 1 Assist, 1 Block, 1 Dig
Bonny Boultinghouse — 4 Digs
Smith Center 2, Great Bend 0 (25-12, 25-14)
Stueder — 10 Assists, 1 Block, 1 Kill, 7 Digs
Harris — 3 Kills, 2 Blocks, 4 Digs
Schneider — 1 Assist, 2 Digs
Kutina — 4 Kills, 4 Digs, 2 Blocks
Kaylie Doll — 2 Kills, 1 Dig
Henning — 1 Assist, 7 Digs
Haines — 3 Kills, 5 Blocks
Boutlinghouse — 4 Assists, 1 Kill, 1 Dig
Kylee Spray — 8 Digs