By CONOR NICHOLL
Congrats to this months Nex-Tech Wireless Central Kansas Athlete of the Month from Sports in Kansas
Sydney Unruh, Great Bend
On Oct. 3, Great Bend junior libero Sydney Unruh earned her 1,000th career serve-receive. Unruh, one of the state’s top passers and defensive players, has helped Great Bend enjoy an impressive turnaround with second-year coach Shelly Duvall. GB captured its home tournament
-21 and 17-16. Unruh’s passing and serve-receive have helped the Panthers enjoy an offense that has significantly reduced errors from ’18.
Great Bend averages 12.9 kills per set and a .250 hitting percentage in the team’s most recent statistical release. Great Bend is shorter than many top 5A teams with 5-foot-10 senior middle blocker Emma Wasinger the program’s tallest player.
Five players have between 106 and 159 kills for a team that has errors on just 13.8 percent of swings. Last year, Great Bend with a 5-0 mark last weekend. After Oct. 8 matches, the Panthers held a 23-4 record.
In the previous two seasons, Great Bend was 11had 11.7 kills per set, a .164 hitting percentage, and errors on 16.9 percent of swings. Additionally, the Panthers are plus-35 in service aces to service errors, another strong rate.
Great Bend is No. 20 in Kansas in team hitting percentage. Their error rate compares favorably or better with many of the state’s top 4-6A teams, including St. James (12.4), Spring Hill (12.8), Lansing (13.2), Wichita Trinity Academy (14.3), Maize South (13.8) and Garden City (12.8).
The 5-foot-2 Unruh leads GB with 321 digs, 105 more than any teammate, for 5.5 per set. She ranks No. 16 in digs per set, according to MaxPreps.
Unruh has 960 career digs with at least 244 every year. Notably, Unruh has significantly dropped her dig errors from 45 as a freshman to five last year and just one this season.
Unruh has 363 receptions with just 17 errors. Junior Rachel Panzer is second with 167 returns. Unruh is now up to 1,116 career returns. She had 224 as a freshman, 529 as a sophomore.
Sports in Kansas and Nex-Tech Wireless are in partnership over the 2019-2020 school year to release a Central Kansas and Western Kansas Athlete(s) of the Month, two separate monthly honors. Schools west of Russell, Kansas (including Russell) in the Nex-Tech Wireless footprint (click to see) qualify to be nominated for the Western Kansas Athlete of the Month and schools East of Great Bend (including Great Bend) qualify to be the Central Kansas Athlete of the Month (click to see). You can nominate an athlete over the last seven days of the month by emailing Chet Kuplen at firstname.lastname@example.org, please provide stats.
Nex-Tech Wireless is a proud supporter of Sports in Kansas, visit them online at www.nex-techwireless.com.