Buffalo volleyball extends Lamar to four sets

GCHS Athletics
Garden City High School's Kamdyn Carr makes a kill against Lamar, Colo., Thursday during a volleyball dual at GCHS.

The Garden City High School Buffs’ volleyball has not dodged any high-level competition in the first two weeks of the 2021 season.

Thursday night at The Garden was no exception as the Lamar, Colo.,  the No. 1-ranked Class 3A team in the Rocky Mountain state, arrived to battle the home squad.

While the Buffs fell short in their bid to knock one of Colorado’s premier teams, they made a match of it by claiming the third set in the overall best 3-of-5 set competition.

When Lamar won the opening two sets handily by scores of 25-12, 25-13, it looked like it might be a clean sweep for the visitors. But the Buffaloes came to life in Set 3, in what proved to be the most competitive set of the night.

From the outset of that set, the momentum of the match swung to the Buffs as they went from up 3-2 to take a 12-4 lead on back-to-back kills by Mackenzie Lucas and Piper Harris. Then things got interesting as the Savages came roaring back behind their two stellar outside hitters – junior Sydney Dunning and senior Fernanda Merancio. Lamar went on a 10-1 run to go up 14-13 and things looked a bit shaky.

But Garden City regrouped and then won seven consecutive points to move into a 20-14 advantage. Still, things were never assured against the elite Lamar squad as they came roaring back again to close the gap to 22-20 and again at 23-21. A point scored by senior MiKayla Martinez put the Buffs at 24-21 and they served out the set to win 25-21.

In the fourth and deciding set, the Buffs struggled from the outset by dropping the first 9 points. It was an uphill battle the rest of the way and they could get no closer than 20-10 before the Savages took five of the final six points to win 25-11.

“To be honest with you, that’s probably the hardest I’ve seen them play and the most aggressive I’ve seen them play,” said head coach Trista Bailey. “That means we’re headed in the right direction. That’s building some toughness and they got to see a little bit what they’re capable of.”

Bailey said she was encouraged by the overall toughness as to how many points were extended, making Lamar earn some tough points.

“I think they’re learning that we have to value the ball and every point,” Bailey said. “We made more quality passes and more quality hits tonight, so despite our tough schedule, we’re seeing progress.”

The decision leaves the Buffs with a season mark of 2-7 and they will have nine days to prepare for their next competition, Sept. 18, at the Maize Invitational.