DODGE CITY — Great Bend’s volleyball team tuned up for post-season play with a 1-3 record at the Western Athletic Conference volleyball tournament.
Great Bend will be the site of a Class 5A regional tournament Saturday with eight teams competing in two separate tournaments.
The Panthers defeated Dodge City 26-24, 25-14. But the Panthers were beaten by WAC champion Garden City 25-9, 25-14, WAC runner-up Hays High 25-15, 27-25 and Liberal 25-17, 25-13.
Rachel Panzer posted 16 kills, Trista Wilt 13 kills and nine blocks, Olivia Mull 12 kills and four blocks. Jenna Mauler had 29 assists and Alyssa Herter 27 assists. Mauler had 38 digs and six aces, Baylee Beck 30 digs, Aleah Urban 22 digs and Alyssa Herter 17 digs.
“Unfortunately our day did not go as planned,” said Great Bend coach Kelsey Perry. “We were definitely ready to play, and had a good practice Friday, which had us feeling very prepared. We started slow against Dodge, but got going halfway through the first set and then quickly took care of them the second set. The ladies were really confident heading into the Garden match. “It was great to see the confidence our team had going into Garden City. They really felt they were prepared and could get the win.”
WAC champion Garden City features a lineup of 6-2, 6-0, and 6-0 on the frontline.
“Garden presents a lineup that is really hard to compete with,” Perry said. “We hung with them until their big hitters rotated and could get over our block. That is what they pretty much did to every team. By far, they have the most all-around talent in the league, with their trees on the front row, a talented setter, and good defensive specialists to back them up. They are a senior-led team and they played like it Saturday.”
Perry said she was disappointed the Panthers didn’t rally back and win abother match.
“That loss got them a bit emotionally. We struggled to recover after that loss,” she said. “We haven’t been able to get a consistent rotation that works well day-in and day-out.”
Sophomore setter Jenna Mauler led the Panthers in digs, aces, assists, delivered a good number of kills, and also was good defensively at the net with four blocks and two stuff blocks. As a team, The Panthers delivered 20 aces.
“Freshmen outside hitter Rachel Panzer led the team in kills, so that was good to see her start to find a groove at the varsity level,” she said. “We didn’t finish where we wanted to but we saw a lot of good things from our young players, and that looks really promising for our program. It was hard to see our seniors not get a higher finish and have their best days, but they’ve had great careers and are outstanding leaders for our team.”
Great Bend will host senior night, tonight, against Dodge at 4 p.m. and Hoisington a 6 p.m.