Continuing the tradition.
Garden City High School’s volleyball team continued the reign over the competition in the Western Athletic Conference Saturday, going 4-0 and winning the WAC’s round robin league tournament in front of the home crowd.
This is the ninth consecutive year GCHS has won the league volleyball title, and did not lose a set in the latest tournament.
“Overall, I think the competition in our league is up this year,” GCHS Head Coach Trista Bailey said. “We have some young talent and several teams that are extremely scrappy on the defensive side of the ball.”
The Buffaloes began the day against Liberal, and like in many tournaments this season, started slow and sluggish, but came through with the win.
The Redskins held the lead through most of the first set, but when the Buffaloes were down 22-24, they took control, winning the set 28-26. The second set proved close also but Garden City won 25-21.
“For whatever reason, we always seem to have a tough time with Liberal. They gave us some trouble and forced us into several errors in the first set,“ Bailey said. “We had to find ways to score when Reagan (Karlin) was in the back row, and some days we can do that and other days we struggle. Saturday, in the first match, we definitely struggled and we have to be better about handling pressure situations.”
Against Liberal, Karlin led the Buffaloes with 16 kills in the match. Alli Meng added five, while Ashlyn Swan and Julie Calzonetti each had three. Abby Ellermann had two kills in the match.
Garden City’s Kelbi Richter had 16 digs to lead the team against the Redskins, and Gisselle Gutierrez and Remi Vargas each had one service ace. Karlin had the only blocks in the match at two.
“After we got the first win of the day behind us, we were able to settle in to our rhythm and make some big runs,” Bailey said. “It wasn’t our best all around day, but these kids bailed together to get the job done.”
The Buffaloes got back in to their rhythm, disposing of Hays, 25-10, 25-12, in their second match.
Gutierrez led the team with three service aces against Hays, as Richter and Vargas each had one. Richter finished with six digs in the match as Vargas and Karlin had five and four, respectively.
Swan led the team defensively at the net with five blocks in the match, while Meng and Calzonetti each had two. The Buffaloes had a balanced attack in the match for kills as Karlin led the team with eight, Meng had six, Calzonetti four and Swan added three.
Next up for Garden City was Great Bend, winning 25-19, 25-16.
Karlin stepped up her kills with 14 in the match. Meng had seven, Swan and Calzonetti each finished with three, and Ellermann had two. Gutierrez had two service aces in the match while Abby Parr and Karlin each had one.
On the defensive side, Swan and Ellermann each finished with four blocks in the match, as Meng had two and Karlin added one. Richter and Gutierrez led the team with 13 and 11 digs, respectively.
Garden City’s last match of the day was against Dodge City, to complete the WAC sweep, 25-13, 25-12.
Calzonetti and Karlin each had two blocks in the match. Karlin had 11 digs while Richter had nine.
Karlin served up three aces, while Parr, Gutierrez and Richter each had one.
Karlin led the team in kills with seven. Calzonetti finished with six, Meng had five, Swan had four and Ellermann added one.
“Winning nine straight WAC titles is an unbelievable accomplishment. it says a lot about the tradition of Garden City volleyball and all the players and coaches that have come before us,” Bailey said. “We know winning eludes a lot of programs, and we try to teach our kids the importance of humility and gratitude to be able to carry on the tradition for another year.”
The Buffaloes, now 30-3 overall record and ranked fourth in the state, will host a 6A substate on Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m.