It has to be frustrating for opponents of McPherson High’s volleyball team to continually try to hit the ball over the Bullpups' tall-and-talented front line.
Not only are the Bullpups tall and long, but they have a spring in their step. MHS continually blocked everything that Rose Hill and Andale threw at it here Tuesday in its home opener, as the Bullpups emerged unscathed in a gathering of state-ranked megapowers.
MHS outlasted gritty Rose Hill 25-22, 25-19 and then got better as the match went along against Andale for a 25-21, 25-13 success, dealing the Indians only their third loss of the season. Andale swept Rose Hill 25-20, 25-18 in the other match.
With the two victories, MHS has won 11 straight matches since a season-opening loss to Newton.
“Both teams brought a different style,” MHS coach Christy Doile said of her state-ranked foes. “Andale was heavy on their outside, then Rose Hill was heavy bringing their middles in fast and over the block.”
The Rose Hill match could have been played in a phone both. Neither team ever led by more than two points in the first set until the Bullpups went up 21-18. In the second set, it was 13-all before Megan Pedersen and Magan Alexander took over and led the Bullpups on a 9-1 run that essentially decided the match.
The first set against Andale was much the same. MHS led 13-12 when it took off and opened up as much as an eight-point lead. The second set featured a run of 13 straight service points by Pedersen, which turned a 7-5 lead into a 20-5 bulge.
Pedersen, who has committed to Washburn University, pulled off a rare triple-double, as she had 23 assists, 13 kills and 11 digs. Fort Hays State commit Alexander led in kills with 15, while Brooke Schrag notched 18 assists and Addie Simon registered 23 digs. Mandi Cooks was menacing at the net with five blocks.
The Bullpups, who climbed to No. 3 today in the Class 4A Division I rankings, will see Rose Hill again on Tuesday when both teams compete in the Winfield triangular. Then it’s the high-powered Newton Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 26.
The MHS JVs went 1-1 on the night, defeating Rose Hill 25-14, 25-14, but succumbing to Andale (23-25, 17-25).
Coach Diane Marshall said Elisabeth Evans was particularly outstanding in all areas, while Elle Barrett also drew praise.
The Bullpups are now 5-1.