There’s just no way on a night in which Reagan Karlin reached a historic milestone statistic that the Buffaloes were going to drop another set during a home triangular vs. WAC foes Great Bend and Liberal.
After the Buffs had dropped a single set to Great Bend earlier in the day (though, they still won 25-23, 18-25, 25-17), they found themselves down 23-18 vs. Liberal in the second set of the final match. But head coach Trista Bailey took a timeout, and the Buffs stampeded out of the break for seven-consecutive points, winning the set and match (25-15, 25-23) with an emphatic kill by Karlin putting the exclamation point on the win.
“I was proud of them for their fight at the end,” head coach Trista Bailey said. “When I called that timeout, it was pretty much (the players’) conversation, and they said we’re going to win 7 for 2, and any time you can get your kids to believe that, it’s a good spot to be in.”
They did that be following behind the big right arm of Karlin, who eclipsed 1,000 career kills early in the second match, stopping play for just a minute as the fans in The Garden praised her for the effort.
“It was just awesome and really exciting. I’ve been wanting to get there for a while now, and I just found out today that I was close, so I was like, ‘OK, I’m going to make it happen,’” Karlin said afterwards.
Karlin led the way in the triangular, as well, racking up 26 kills between the two matches.
“I’m just really proud of her and the way she’s grown as a person, because that kill was not only special to her, it was special to our team and that’s a testament to her character and how much faith they have in her,” Bailey said of Karlin. “I’m just blessed to be a part of it and be on the journey with her.”
It was Karlin that got the Buffs going in each of their matches, despite slow starts plaguing the Buffs in each set. They fell behind in both ends against Liberal, before rebounding to sweep that match.
But a slow start in the middle set vs. Great Bend forced them to go three against the Panthers.
“I think that’s part of our game we definitely need to improve,” Bailey said. “We come in and have everything else on our minds besides practice and these games, and that’s just a level of maturity we have to get to.”
In addition to Karlin, the Buffs got 16 kills from Julie Calzonetti, 20 digs and 56 assists from Remi Vargas and 20 digs from Kelbi Richter.
Vargas and Richter are not far away from big milestones of their own, Bailey said. Richter is approaching 1,000 career digs and Vargas is nearing 2,000 career assists.