Of all the accomplishments for McPherson High’s volleyball team this season, there’s still one notable hole in the resume.
A tournament championship.
The Bullpups were hoping to add that here Saturday in the McPherson Invitational as they entered as the No. 1 seed, but they slipped up against No. 3-seed Hillsboro in the semifinals and had to settle for third place, going 5-1 on the day.
The Bullpups blew through their pool with a 4-0 record — 25-12, 25-13 against Nickerson, 25-14, 25-16 against Hutchinson, 25-21, 21-25, 25-19 against Salina South and 25-14, 25-9 against Junction City.
Against Hillsboro, which has been a state champion three of the last four years, the Bullpups were defeated 17-25, 26-28, the second set swinging on a couple of close calls that went against MHS and the Trojans then rallied for the win.
MHS did have a stumble against Salina South in the third-place match, but still came away with a 25-23, 15-25, 25-19 triumph. Hillsboro wound up taking second, as 5A power Bishop Carroll won the championship, 25-21, 25-15.
“We were rolling most of the day,” MHS coach Christy Doile said. “We cut down on serving and hitting errors, with an emphasis going into the tournament to eliminate unforced errors. We need to keep the ball in play and play smarter ball to give us a better chance to win. We did exactly that five out of six matches.”
Doile was disappointed with the outcome against Hillsboro.
“Rough start both sets,” she said. “We feel like they gave their absolutely best effort and we didn't respond point-for-point with our best effort. Set two versus Hillsboro we were much closer to our best effort, making it a great set for spectators to watch and would of been a wonderful set to win. I can tell you it was a heartbreaker to lose. We had two close calls to determine if the ball was in or out. We wish we could of hit the ball just a few inches more toward the ‘in’ side of the line, leaving no doubt that the ball was ‘in’ and we win the set. We literally lost by a matter of an inch, maybe a centimeter, the official on the line had to make the decision. This match we had our most serving and hitting errors on the day, couple that with Alex's (Hillsboro All-Stater Ratzlaff) ability to dig our spikes and her offensive hitting percentage was spot on, made it more difficult to win. Hillsboro should be very proud of their effort, they didn't play like a team that had eight losses.”
MHS dug deep to come back and win third.
“I was pleased to see we showed up mentally and physically for the third-place match, coming away with a victory,” she said. “This was something we didn't do at the Newton Invite.”
A plus on the day was the return of liberal Addie Simon, who led the team in digs. She had been sidelined with a knee injury.
The Bullpups, now 28-7 on the season, are home on Tuesday for the final time as it’s Senior Night. Winfield and Buhler will provide the competition as MHS tries to finish AVCTL D-III play with a 10-0 record.
Here are the MHS stat leaders for the weekend:
• Kills •
Megan Pedersen, 55
Magan Alexander, 54
Katlyn Ruth, 32
• Assists •
Brooke Schrag, 65
Megan Pedersen, 64
• Digs •
Addie Simon, 49
Magan Alexander, 36
Megan Pedersen, 35
• Blocks •
Mandi Cooks, 10
Megan Pedersen, 7
Katlyn Ruth, 6