TONGANOXIE — Taking part in the Tonganoxie volleyball tournament on Saturday the Great Bend High School Lady Panthers finished a long day on the hardwood by capturing a trio of impressive victories.
Great Bend, which finished 3-3 at the invite, opened pool play by falling to a very tough Class 6A school in Manhattan, 25-17, 25-17. Manhattan went on to take second place in the 12-team tournament. The Lady Panthers also fell in pool play to Bishop Ward, out of Kansas City, Kan., 25-9, 25-12. The Cyclones ended up in 10th place.
The final round of pool play found the Lady Panthers losing to Shawnee Mission Northwest in a hard-fought match, 25-19, 25-22.
“We played some very good teams in pool play,” Great Bend head coach Kelsey Perry said. “We played each team close, which has been a struggle for us this season. In the past, once we got down we didn’t have any fight left, but this weekend we fought for every point until the end.
“We were in the same position last week at Topeka Hayden after going 0-3 in Pool Play. We could either get our heads down and be done or we could play as hard as we could and get some wins. In both tournaments the ladies played very well to finish off the day.
The silver bracket was prosperous for the Lady Panthers.
“In the silver bracket, we took first place with a seventh-place finish overall,” Perry said. “We defeated Perry-LeCompton, 25-20, 25-18, 25-19. We then beat Piper, 25-19, 25-19 and finished the day by beating a very good Eudora team, 25-18, 15-25, 25-22.
“The difference in our team the past couple weeks has been our play at the net. Liz Kutina, Ashley Boeger and Emily Seiwert have been shutting down the opponents hitters at the net. When you can consistently block, it throws a teams hitters off.”
The Lady Panthers were also making good percentage on their kills.
“Rachel Harris, Kutina, Boeger, Morgan Fletchall, Seiwert, and Jordan Haney are all attacking the ball on offense,” Perry said. “They are reading the defense and understanding where to put the ball. We feel very confident with them running all our offensive sets because they are putting the ball away.
“Katelyn Henning, Kaitlee Spray, and Jennifer Allende aren’t letting balls hit the floor. Our back-row players were all over the place this weekend and their hard work is allowing us to be successful at the net.”
The weekend tournaments have provided the Lady Panthers with a taste of what they might encounter in the postseason.
“We have not faired well in pool play the past couple of weekends but we have won both consolation brackets,” Perry said. “We have to compete in pool play to be successful in the future, but we are very proud of the way the team is playing as one unit and really starting to jell.”
The Lady Panthers host their home tournament on Saturday at GBHS.