The Great Bend Lady Panthers won both of their volleyball matches against Smoky Valley and triangular host, Ellinwood, Thursday evening.
The evening started with Smoky Valley squaring off against Ellinwood. The Lady Vikings took the first game with a score of 25 to 21.
Ellinwood came back and took the second game with a score of 25 to 14.
In the third game, Ellinwood built a 15 to 7 lead, only to see Smoky Valley come back and take the lead at 17 to 16. The Lady Eagles then promptly tied the score on a serve from Mya Maxwell and took over after a Smoky Valley timeout.
Ellinwood won the game with a final score of 25 to 20 and the match two games to one.
In the second match of the evening, the Lady Vikings stayed on the floor and took on Great Bend.
Both sides felt each other out for a while in the first game. After tying for the fourth time in the game at 12 all, Great Bend broke the time and built a commanding lead. The Lady Panthers won game one 25-18.
The second game was more eventful as Great Bend took an early 8 to 3 lead. Smoky Valley then whittled away at the lead until they tied it at nine all.
From that point on both teams traded points and ties until the end. Neither team could get more than a point or two lead before the other would come and tie it back up.
Great Bend won the second game, and the match, by a score of 26 to 24.
The final match of the night was a Barton County matchup of Great Bend and Ellinwood.
The first game of the match seemed to be a continuation of the previous game with Smoky Valley and Great Bend. Neither Great Bend or Ellinwood could pull away and build a lead on the other. The two teams would trade points and ties.
Then Great Bend finally managed a run and got the score to 21 to 17, but Ellinwood reeled them back in and tied it at 23 all.
The Lady Panthers would take the next two points to win the game 25 to 23.
In the final game of the night, Great Bend built up a 7 to 4 lead. Then like the previous two games, they gave up the lead to have the score tied at 9 all.
"It's always a tight, emotional game when we play Ellinwood," said Great Bend Head Coach Shelly Duvall. That stayed true as the Lady Panthers would try to mount a small run only to see it falter and the Lady Eagles tie or occasionally take the lead.
In the final moments of the game, the score stood tied at 25 all. Alyssa Herter took the ball to serve and helped to put together two points to take the game and the match 27 to 25.
"In a game like this, you have to keep the players calm," said Coach Duvall. "You also have to let them learn and believe that they can win the game.”