Being challenged by the competition.
That’s what Garden City High School’s volleyball team faced on Saturday as they traveled across the state to compete in the Lawrence High School Invitational, and face teams they will probably face in the playoffs.
The Buffaloes finished the tournament in third place, going 3-2, to move their season overall record to 19-3.
“This tournament was a great opportunity for us,” Head Coach Trista Bailey said. “We knew coming in that we would be challenged and put in tough situations, but we also knew that we would be better as a team. That’s exactly what happened today.”
Garden City opened the tournament against Blue Valley West and was handed a defeat in the evenly-balanced match, 19-25, 22-25.
Reagan Karlin led the Buffaloes in kills with six, while Abby Ellermann, Alli Meng and Julie Calzonetti each had two. Calzonetti had the only block in the match for GCHS.
Melody Flores and Karlin each had two service aces as Abby Par had one. Gisselle Gutierrez and Remi Vargas each had four digs to lead the Buffaloes.
“In our first mach of the day, our serve receive really struggled. We saw some of the best servers of the season so far and we really had to focus on our communication and early reads,” Bailey said. “That was probably the biggest improvement from the beginning to the end of the day.”
The Buffaloes bounced back in their next match, getting back in to the win column, defeating Lawrence, 25-17, 25-18.
Kelbi Richter had 13 digs in the match to lead the team, while Meng had the lone block.
Several of Garden City’s players got on the board with kills in the match. Karlin led the way with 11, while Calzonetti and Ellermann each had three and Ashlyn Swan and Meng had two each. Vargas and Karlin each had three service aces while Gutierrez had two.
Garden City next faced Olathe Northwest, winning the match in straight sets, 25-16, 25-12.
The kill ratio was spread among several Buffaloes again in this match. led by Calzonetti and Karlin with eight each. Ellermann had five, as Swan and Meng each had two. Meng, once again, had the only block in the match.
Richter led the team with 12 digs, while Karlin had four service aces and Parr and Gutierrez each added one ace.
Next up for the Buffaloes was facing Blue Valley. GCHS dropped the match, 21-25, 12-25.
Karlin and Calzonetti lead the team in kills with seven and six, respectively. Swan and Meng each added two. Vargas had 13 digs in the match while Richter had 10.
Meng had two blocks, while Swan and Ellermann each had one. Gutierrez, Richter and Karlin each had one service ace in the match.
The Buffaloes bounced back again in their final match of the day, defeating Manhattan, 25-18, 25-20.
Richter finished with 15 digs and Vargas had 10 to lead the team. Karlin had eight kills while Swan, Meng and Ellermann each had four.
Meng had two blocks in the match while Calzonetti and Karlin each had one. Karlin added two service aces and Gutierrez had one.
“Overall, we gained some valuable experience and our kids got to compete with some of the best in the state this week,” Bailey said.
Garden City will return to the GCHS gym on Thursday for a triangular with Dodge City and Ulysses, beginning at 4 p.m. The team will also celebrate its seniors with a senior night ceremony and will also be having a Play Pink night.