VOLLEYBALL: Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020
If the Garden City High School Lady Buffaloes volleyball team is going to claim its 10th consecutive Western Athletic Conference title in a couple of weeks, they will certainly have their work cut out for them.
Having already lost one match to Hays earlier in the season that snapped a 34-match winning streak against WAC opponents, the Lady Buffs headed to Dodge City on Tuesday, Sept. 29, to take on league foes Liberal and the Lady Red Demons in a triangular.
First, the Lady Buffs opened with a 25-17, 28-26 two-set sweep of Liberal’s Lady Redskins and then followed with a marathon three-set victory, falling 27-29 in the opening set before coming from behind to win the final two sets, 25-23 and 32-30.
“The first set against Liberal was the most focused I have seen our girls in a first set all season,” head coach Trista Bailey said. “They executed really well. In the second set, Liberal went on a late run and we couldn’t get control of our serve receive. However, our veterans stepped up and made big plays when we need them to.”
The Dodge City three-set battle was nothing short of dramatic, exhausting and satisfying for the Lady Buffs. Having defeated Dodge City handily for several seasons consecutively, this one was different.
“Dodge City gave us just about all we could handle,” Bailey said. “They have done a great job with that group and their mental toughness. They didn’t quit.”
Seemingly typical of volleyball matches, there was a lot of ebb and flow to this match.
“We went through spells where our offense just couldn’t find a hole and that led to some frustration errors,” Bailey said. “Overall, I’m proud of our composure and grit. WAC is looking to be an exciting tournament.”
In the Liberal match, McKenna Jagels led the way with two aces. Abby Ellerman had 7 kills while Julie Calzonetti had 6 kills and 7 digs. Mya Cruz recorded 14 assists and Mya DelaCruz finished with 7 assists. Melody Flores and Cruz each had 6 digs.
The Dodge City match saw Jagels with 2 aces, 11 kills and 13 digs. Ellerman had 7 kills and 4 blocks. Calzonetti had a team-high 11 kills and 14 digs. Flores had 7 kills and 13 digs while Abby Parr had 19 digs, a team-high. Cruz finished with 17 assists and 11 digs while DelaCruz had a team-leading 26 assists.
The twin victories improved the Lady Buffs season record to 9-7, going 8-2 after a 1-5 start. Next up for the Lady Buffs will be Thursday when they travel to Wichita-Bishop Carroll for a quadrangular in which they also will face Junction City and Maize South. Their final home matches will be Oct. 8 at The Garden.