Although Garden City High School’s varsity volleyball team has nine seniors on the roster, only three are returning with varsity experience.
Head coach Trista Bailey said Saturday’s tournament at Newton was a valuable learning experience for the team, which went 1-3 in the round robin event to finish in fourth place.
"We are going to rely heavily on those three (returners) to move from being role players to carrying the load for our team," Bailey said.
The Buffaloes started the day with a hard-fought three-game victory over Valley Center, 20-25, 25-18 and 25-23.
McKenna Jagels led the team with six service aces, while Melody Flores added two and Abby Parr notched one. Jagels also led GCHS with eight kills in the match. Julie Calzonetti had five while Abby Ellerman, Mackenzie Lucas and Flores each had four.
Ellerman came away with three blocks in the game while Jagels and Symone Simmons each had one. Flores led the team in digs with 18 as Jagels had 14 whole Parr and Mya Cruz each had 10.
Garden City went winless in its other three matches but was never blown out in any of the games.
Against Derby, the Buffaloes dropped the contest 25-11 and 25-20.
Calzonetti led the team with four kills while Ellerman and Jagels each had three. Gisselle Gutierrez recorded two service aces and Jagels and Flores each had one.
Ellerman had two blocks in the match while Simmons had one. Parr led the team with seven digs.
The Buffaloes had a three-game match with Newton, eventually dropping the match 26-28, 25-15 and 25-18.
Ellerman ended the match with five blocks and Flores had one. Parr led the team with 15 digs. Calzonetti and Jagels led the team with seven kills each while Ellerman added four.
Flores recorded four service aces in the match. Gutierrez and Jagels each had one ace.
In Garden City’s final match of the day, it dropped a two-game contest to McPherson, 25-17 and 25-22.
Calzonetti once again led the team in kills with five in this match, while Ellerman and Flores each added three. Parr, Gutierrez and Mya DelaCruz each had one service ace.
Parr came up with 11 digs while Flores had two blocks and MiKayla Martinez had one.
"Overall, it was a valuable learning experience for our kids. We will get better," Bailey said. "This is a hardworking group and I know they are eager to make some adjustments and do what needs to be done to improve."
GCHS was back in action on Tuesday, traveling to Maize South for a triangular. The Buffaloes will have their home opener on Thursday with a triangular beginning at 4 p.m.