SALINA — McPherson High’s ninth-grade volleyball team secured the championship of the Salina South Invitational on Saturday.
The Bullpups went 4-1 on the day, defeating Ellsworth 25-15, 25-15 in the finals.
“Both teams in the finals came out of bracket play 3-1 and we had not had an opportunity to see Ellsworth play because of schedules, so we had no idea what to expect,” MHS coach Danica Fitzmorris said. “We knew, however, what we had to do to win on our side, and that meant correcting service errors and putting the pieces of our offense together to get in system, and we did just that. (Kari) Ellet and (Michaela) Bowers led the hitting stats, however (Alaina) Diggs, (Kallie) Jost and (Megan) Saverino all added to the offense.”
Jost, Addie Fitzmorris and Kolbi Partain combined for 24 service points, while Chelsea Stoppel had 19 points off serve and three kills.
Here’s a summary of the other matches:
• Abilene — A 27-25, 25-14 win.
“Toughest game of the day,” Fitzmorris said. “We came out determined to win the first match knowing if we lost we would not be eligible for the finals. We had great hitting from Kallie Jost and Megan Saverino. Rachel Janzen served 11 through both matches with four aces and Kolbi Partain added to the win with nine serves. Abilene had a quality team with few holes on the floor.”
• Hays — A 25-22, 25-16 victory.
“Another tough match,” Fitzmorris said. “Megan Saverino and Chelsea Stoppel both had great hitting stats along with our big middle Megan Eisenbarth, who had 14 hits and three kills. Michaela Bowers led the stats in serve receive and passing, and without good passes our offense will not run. Hays was quick and we had to work hard on the hitting end to get balls to hit the floor.”
• Smoky Valley — MHS won 25-7, 25-19.
“Kari Ellet was on fire this match with five kills,” Fitzmorris said. “The entire roster helped with the win as everyone played in the match. Chelsea Stoppel had 15 serves and four aces while Addie Fitzmorris added 10 serves with three aces.”
• Salina Central — The only loss of the day, 25-18, 22-25, 13-15.
“With 10 service errors in the match, we had a hard time fighting our way back in set 2 and 3,” Fitzmorris said. “All close matches, it was a combination of energy and not being consistent in all areas that led to the loss. Fortunately, Central had not won any other matches on the day and we tied in bracket play with Hays, who was also 3-1. We beat them head-to-head and entered the final match to play for first and second.”
By going 4-1 on the day, MHS is now 6-2.
“Future goals include becoming more effective at the short set and controlling areas we can, like serving and passing, on our side of the net,” Fitzmorris said. “A good example of that is our libero Lauren Hein, who had 25 passes on the day with only three passing errors. Overall, as a coach, I am so proud of the efforts put forth, what a great way to start at our first tournament. I was impressed with the girls stamina throughout the day and we will continue to keep our athletes physically ready for competition.”
The next match is Thursday at Wellington, with Circle and Mulvane rounding out the quad.