MAIZE — Using a consummate team effort, the Great Bend High School Lady Panthers stormed into suburban Wichita on Tuesday evening and swept a pair of matches to open the season.
GBHS, which travels to Garden City this evening, held off host Maize for a 25-18, 12-25, 25-21 three-set triumph and then turned around and toppled Salina South, 25-20, 25-19.
“We came out really strong against Maize,” Lady Panthers head coach Kelsey Perry said. “We did things right in the first set, but (Maize) also had several errors. The second set, the roles were reversed, and we had too many errors to compete.
“The third match was as intense. We played very well and took care of the little things that got us the win. Every player did what it needed to do to beat a very good Maize team.”
Lady Panthers middle hitter Brenna Haines, who suffered a sprained ankle early last week and wore a boot for a few days, seems to be on the mend nicely.
Haines, a 6-foot-1 junior, had eight kills, six digs, five blocks and three aces against the host school, and Tarynn Stueder, a 5-9 junior setter, had five kills, four aces, three blocks and seven digs.
“When we pass well we have the hitters that can get us kills and that is so critical on every play,” Perry said.
After a slight letdown at the outset, GBHS took care of business against Salina South during the aforementioned two-set triumph.
“We had a bit of an emotional letdown to start against South,” Perry said. “We let them get us down and had to come back. That can happen after a big first-match win, but we have to get better at finishing all matches.
“Our seniors, Bonny Boultinghouse, Taylor Fry, and Liz Swigart, are great team leaders. When we are all in it to win, great things happen. We had a great start and look to continue that at Garden City on (today).”
In junior-varsity action, Maize defeated Great Bend, 25-23, 25-12, and Salina South beat the Lady Panthers, 25-22, 37-25.
“The JV team is getting better every day. They are a mix of a few freshmen and a lot do sophomores, so playing together is new and will improve over time,” Perry said.
The GBHS freshman volleyball team went 2-1 at Garden City on Monday evening, beating Garden and Holcomb and losing to Dodge City.
— Mack McClure