DODGE CITY – Great Bend (15-15) finished 2-2 in the Western Athletic Conference volleyball tournament, but earned second place on a tiebreaker with Hays High and Liberal. 6A state ranked Garden City defended its WAC title.
“It was a great day to be a Panther at Dodge City High School,” said Great Bend volleyball coach Shelly Duvall. “This is the first time in a few years that the Panthers have finished in the top two at the WAC tournament.
Second and third place came down to the Hays versus Liberal match. If Liberal won, they took second and if Hays won, Great Bend captured second place.
“This was the one time that we were rooting for Hays to win,” Duvall said proudly. “It doesn’t happen very often, but we knew what the outcome would be if they won.”
Garden City stopped the Panthers 25-17, 25-21 in two tough sets. Garden City’s height out matched that of the Panthers, but the Panthers’ scrappy defense kept them close.
“Our goal against Garden City was to simply compete,” said Duvall, “They met their goal.”
Alyssa Herter lead the Panthers in kills with 7 followed by Rachel Panzer with 5.
The Panthers sought revenge against Hays High, which previously beat Great Bend in their home tournament. Great Bend took out with a 7-1 lead in the first set taking the Indians out of their offense with tough serves. The Panthers continued to push the score with huge momentum and won the first set 25-14. The Panthers defeated the Indians 25-23 taking the match in two sets.
“The second set had the feel of a regional championship match. Both teams played with emotion and grit to the last point,” Duvall said. “That was a huge win for us. The Indians are a big rivalry match and both teams are always fired up to play each other. It is exciting to see our girls fight. They definitely wanted it.”
Jenna Mauler led the lady Panthers with 10 kills and 13 digs, while Sydney Unruh gave the Panther offense 13 serve receive passes and 16 digs.
Liberal surprised the Panthers 25-21, 24-26, 25-13.
Sydney Unruh was the player of the game in this match donating 24 serve receive passes and 24 digs.
Great Bend took out strong against Dodge City 25-14, 25-17.
The Panthers compete Monday at Hoisington against Dodge City and Hoisington. Great Bend draws McPherson at 5A substate with state-ranked Newton the top seed.