Winning WAC league.
Winning 30-plus matches in the season.
Heading to state.
Garden City High School’s volleyball team has accomplished all of these season marks this year, and looking for that state title, claiming a Class 6A sub-state championship on Saturday during a tournament at GCHS.
The Buffaloes opened with a victory over Haysville-Campus 25-17, 25-22. Campus won a “play-in” match over Topeka High earlier in the day.
“In preparing for sub-state, last week we focused a lot on controlling our offensive errors, “ GCHS Head Coach Trista Bailey said. “Against Campus, we struggled to execute.”
Against Campus, Reagan Karlin led the team with 14 kills. Julie Calzonetti and Abby Ellermann each had five, while Ashlyn Swan had four and Alli Meng added two. Calzonetti led the team with 10 defensive digs.
Swan, Meng and Ellermann each had one block during the match. Remi Vargas had 29 assists against Campus.
Karlin had two service aces in the match, as Vargas, Calzonetti and McKenna Jagels each had one.
“We talked to our kids about the sense of urgency that everyone has to have at this point in the year,” Bailey said. “No one wants to go home and no one wants it to be their last match. I have a lot of respect for Campus and how they were able to capitalize on some of our hesitation.”
Garden City faced Manhattan in the championship game, winning 25-13, 25-21, for the title.
“Manhattan is a solid team - much better than their record indicates,” Bailey said. “They play a tough schedule and have some really athletic kids. However, we got some big plays out of our middles that ultimately made a difference for our team.”
Kelbi Richter had two service aces and Karlin had one. Vargas had 28 assists in the match. Swan, Meng, Ellermann and Karlin each had one block during the match.
Karlin matched her kills from the first match with 14 against Manhattan. Calzonetti had six, Swan had five, Ellermann three and Meng added two.
“We played without Gisselle Gutierrez, one of our defensive specialists, and Julie Calzonetti did a great job filling that role,” Bailey said. “When Kelbi (Richter) went out with her ankle spain, we had two different players in the rotation - Melody Flores has been a serving specialist but played in the DS position, and McKenna Jagels hasn’t played with us all season but she went in and played in the sub-state championship.”
The Buffaloes are now 32-3 overall entering the 6A state tournament.
“I was really pleased with how supportive we were of one another,” Bailey said. “We haven’t always handled ourselves very well in pressure situations, but Saturday we saw what kind of teammates we have to be in order to get the most out of each other. That was the difference maker for us.”
Garden City is the No. 1 seed in the 6A state tournament this week at Tony’s Pizza Events Center in Salina. Pool play will be held on Friday, with the bracket side of the tournament on Saturday.
In Friday’s pool play, the Buffaloes will face Lawrence-Free State at 4:30 p.m.; Blue Valley North at 6:30 p.m.; and Blue Valley at 8:30 p.m.