By MIKE KESSINGER
There's no place like home, or in the Garden City High School volleyball team's case, no place like The Garden.
Of course it wasn't a perfect return, but compared to the Lady Buffaloes opening performance at the Wichita-Campus triangular Tuesday, coach Bob Schmitz will take it.
"I would have to say this would have to be about as close to a 180 degree turnaround that you can make from going playing Tuesday night to playing tonight," Schmitz said. "Tuesday night we were really tentative all over the court. We could just never get a rhythm going. Tonight we definitely had a rhythm going. Everybody really got a chance to see some really good volleyball tonight."
The Lady Buffs had to scratch and claw for everything on Thursday, and what it came out to be was a 2-1 won-loss performance with each game going to three sets. Garden City (2-3) rallied in its first two games to knock off Holcomb 18-25, 25-21, 25-21, then Great Bend 14-25, 25-23, 25-15. In the final game of the night against Liberal, the Lady Buffs took control early winning the first set convincingly, 25-16. In the second set GCHS had chances to put the Lady Redskins away, but Liberal rallied to win 26-24, then took the final set 25-21.
Holcomb lost its final two games, losing to Great Bend 25-7, 25-21, then fell to Liberal 25-20, 25-22. The Class 3A Lady Longhorns, though, got some good competition against two Class 5A schools and the 6A Lady Buffs.
"I think we did come out and play well," Holcomb coach Shelly VanCleave said. "I thought we really came out and played hard. I was happy with how the girls did. They really came together."
For Garden City, the quad was more about rebounding from a slow start. In each of their first two games, the Buffaloes struggled in the first set as Holcomb and Great Bend both took advantage. Still warm from the Great Bend game, the Buffaloes went right into playing Liberal. After the Holcomb game, the team had rested for an hour. The difference between Garden City's first sets against the Longhorns and Panthers showed immensely from the Liberal game.
"It was basically neck to neck all the way through in that last match," Schmitz said of playing Liberal. "We dominated one of the sets, then (Liberal) took control of that last set. Maybe they have a little bit more experience how to handle the game that we're still working on, but it's really close. It going to come around really quick. We've only got a couple of practices before we go to Newton. We're going to work on that and keep with the rotation."
Schmitz, a former assistant coach at GCHS before moving to Hays in 2007 and taking over the Indians volleyball team last year before moving back to Garden City, received a lift from junior middle block Paula Gonzalez and freshman outside hitter Casey Curran. With the help the Buffs got from Gonzalez and Curran the team finished with 4 kills against Holcomb, 34 in the Great Bend game, and 26 against Liberal.
Garden City will head to Newton on Tuesday for a triangular at 5 p.m.
GCHS def. Holcomb, 18-25, 25-21, 25-21
GCHS def. Great Bend, 14-25, 25-23, 25-15
Liberal def. GCHS, 16-25, 26-24, 25-21
Great Bend def. Holcomb, 25-7, 25-21
Liberal def. Holcomb, 25-20, 25-21