Lady Buffs volleyball faces tough opponents at McPherson Invitational

VOLLEYBALL: Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020

The McPherson Invitational Tournament is always one of the toughest tournaments in which the Garden City High School Lady Buffaloes volleyball team competes.

Saturday was no different for 2020 as Trista Bailey utilized a variety of lineups to provide her team some much-needed game experience and came home with one win in four matches.

All three losses suffered by the Buffs came against teams ranked in the top 10 of their respective classes by the Kansas Volleyball Coaches Association.

No. 2-ranked Class 4A and host McPherson subdued the Buffs in straight sets, 11-25, 14-25 while No. 2-ranked Class 2A Garden Plain claimed a 21-25, 19-25 triumph over Garden City.

The Lady Buffs’ sole victory came against Class 5A Pittsburg in a 25-18, 25-18 sweep. Their fifth place match came against No. 10-ranked Class 4A Nickerson only to come up short, 18-25, 23-25.

“We did have some kids who got some quality experience today and I thought they played as well as we could have expected them to play,” Bailey said of playing some of her underclassmen. “I’m grateful we had the opportunity to get some of our younger kids some experience that will hopefully help us down the stretch.”

The tournament was the second consecutive event in which senior Julie Calzonetti was unable to play and Bailey said she hopes to have her return by the end of the coming week.

Bailey said her team lacked some of the consistency that it had shown earlier in the season, but also that the quality opponents had something to do with that.

“We struggled in multiple areas of our game today,” she said. “We weren’t able to pass as consistently as we have earlier in the season. Offensively, we couldn’t seem to get our hitters going.”

Bailey said the team would play well for a two-to-three point stretch but would then follow that up with some errors.

“Just really inconsistent today,” Bailey said.

McKenna Jagels led the team with six service aces while Giselle Gutierrez and Melody Flores added 4 each. Jagels paced the team with 19 kills, Flores was next with 15 while Abby Ellerman and Symone Simmons each had 12. MyaCruz finished with 44 assists. Flores was the team leader indigs with 21 while Cruz had 13 and Jagels 11. Flores finished with 4 defensive blocks and Simmons 2.

The schedule for the Lady Buffs saw an added match which will be a dual Tuesday against Liberal at The Garden. The freshmen and junior varsity teams will play at 4 p.m. with the varsity scheduled to serve at 6 p.m. It will be the best 3-of-4 sets in the dual format.

Saturday’s effort left the Buffs with a 12-13 season record. They will then travel to Great Bend on Saturday where they will seek their 10th consecutive Western Athletic Conference title. This year, however, the Lady Buffs have dropped matches against WAC opponents Hays and Dodge City, but also have defeated Dodge City once, Great Bend once and Liberal twice.

With new formats in place due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Lady Buffs will compete in a 4-team sub-state on Oct. 24 at Dodge City that also will include Liberal and Hutchinson. The winner of that sub-state will advance to a quarterfinal match on Oct. 27, which will determine the final 4 to advance to the state tournament the last weekend of October.

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