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Lady Panthers strike out in pool play at 5A state tourney
Class 5A State Volleyball
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TOPEKA — Luck ran out for the Great Bend High School volleyball team.
The Lady Panthers finished 0-3 in pool play of the Class 5A State Tournament on Friday at Topeka’s Kansas Expocentre, failing to advance to Saturday’s bracket action.
“We took at 29-9 record to state, and of course we wanted to get to 30 wins, but getting to the tournament for the first time in six years was huge,” GBHS head coach Kelsey Perry said. “We hope this becomes a early goal with our program.”
Great Bend started Day 1 of the competition with a daunting task — taking on the No. 2 seeded Kapaun Mt. Carmel.
“As a staff you know the wow factor of the state tournament is going to affect your kids somehow,” Perry said. “I think that we did really well as far as the atmosphere.”
Great Bend lost to Kapuan 25-16, 25-16.
“What got us against Kapuan was the adjustment to the large area around the court,” Perry said. “It is difficult to adjust to serves and serve receive due to the depth perception. That did bother us.
“There isn’t a way to practice that, so you try to do the best you can when you first play in that arena. Kapaun had aggressive hitters. We played a little timid against them and couldn’t get runs put together.”
Next, the Lady Panthers played Andover, falling 25-20, 25-13.
“We started a lot better against Andover than we did against Kapuan,” Perry said. “Putting big scoring runs together was our struggle again and Andover took off once they got a few runs together.
“They are very talented and we let a few players get going against us. We did a lot better all around against Andover and started to feel more at home but couldn’t get the win.”
Great Bend took Topeka Seaman to three sets, but fell short of its 30th win. Seaman won 25-19, 19-25, 25-15.
“Topeka Seaman bothered us the first game and got out early,” Perry said. “The second set, we played great volleyball. We put great scoring runs together. We passed, set, hit, blocked and served well the second set.
“The third set we again let them string together too many runs.”
Perry praised her seven seniors — Brenna Hains, Kelsie Doll, Kaylie Doll, Tarynn Stueder, Kylee Spray, Hannah Hildebrand and Selam Ball — for being responsible for the successful season.
“The group will always be known for the huge improvement they made from last season to this one and all the time and effort they put into our program,” Perry said. “The seven seniors have left a mark and worked extremely hard to get to the state tournament. The teams we saw play this weekend get to the tournament almost every year, so they were used to it.
“Hopefully we will become one of those teams that will begin to get used to it. Our seniors carried us, and they deserve so much credit for all the accomplishments they reached in their career.”

                                  — Kevin Price

Class 5A State Tournament

At Topeka

Kansas Expocentre

Great Bend pool play results
Kapaun Mt. Carmel 2, Great Bend 0
(25-16, 25-16)
Andover 2, Great Bend 0
(25-20, 25-13)
Topeka-Seaman 2, Great Bend 1
(25-19, 19-25, 25-15)