Buffaloes finish fourth at state

Brad Nading
Garden City High School's Symone Simmons (29) and Melody Flores combine to block a shot by Great Bend's Rachel Panzer back to the Panthers side during a WAC volleyball triangular at GCHS earlier this season.

Although they went 0-5 on Friday, Garden City High School’s volleyball team can take away the Class 6A State tournament as an achievement after finishing in fourth place.

The tournament had a different look this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantines, as only four teams in the classification advanced to a one-day tournament. In the past, the state tournament has been a two-day affair with eight teams filling the bracket, having pool play on Day 1 and the bracketed tournament on Day 2.

“Going to the state tournament is such a memorable experience and I know our kids are grateful that we were able to compete on such a big stage with some really talented volleyball teams,” GCHS head coach Trista Bailey said. “Even though the day didn’t go as we had hoped, these kids have left their mark on the program. They had their ups and downs, but they surprised a lot of people along the way and have a lot to be proud of.”

In pool play, the Buffaloes went 0-3, falling to Blue Valley West 25-23, 25-17; to Washburn Rural 25-12, 25-12; and to Olathe Northwest 25-15, 25-16.

In the bracketed portion of the tournament, Blue Valley West defeated Garden City 25-9, 25-14. In the third place match, GCHS fell to Washburn Rural 25-14, 25-14 for fourth place. Blue Valley West defeated Olathe Northwest in the championship 25-21, 25-17.

For the five matches in the tournament, Mya Cruz came up with four service aces while Julie Calzonetti had three, Gisselle Gutierrez had two and McKenna Jagels added one. Calzonetti had 32 kills on the day to lead the Buffaloes. Melody Flores finished the day with 25 and Abby Ellermann was right behind Flores with 24 kills. Jagels added 14 and Symone Simmons had nine.

On the defensive side, Flores led the team with defensive digs, snagging 63 on the day. Calzonetti finished with 48 and Abby Parr grabbed 43. Jagels had 35 digs while Gutierrez and Cruz each had 24. Ellermann added eight while Jesy Foster, Kiana Calahan and Simmons each had two digs.

Ellermann led the team with six blocks on the day and Simmons added five. Flores had four and Jagels finished with three.

“These seniors were freshmen my first year here, and I’m so grateful that they made the commitment to our program and to working hard for the last four years,” Bailey said. “They helped lay the foundation for years to come.”

Garden City, who finished the season with a 20-18 overall record, completed the season by continued the tradition of winning the Western Athletic Conference tournament, won regional and sub state and finished fourth at state.