Christy Doile’s mantra for Saturday’s Class 4A Division I Sub-State Volleyball Tournament in Buhler is succinct and to the point.
“Why not us?”
Her McPherson High Bullpups are in easily the most loaded of the eight 4A D-I sub-states. MHS is ranked No. 2 in the state and takes on No. 5 Hays at 3 p.m. Earlier, No. 3 Abilene goes up against host Buhler at 2 p.m.
“Somebody is going to win on Saturday, so why not us?” Doile said. “All four teams have been dealt the same hand. I'm pretty sure all the coaches had the same reaction when they read their computer screen the day the assignments came out. Like I said, you are frustrated for a day or two and then it becomes the task or challenge ahead. We have been preparing so we can be that team that gets out.”
As Doile points out, the team that advances eliminates two of the top state contenders before the tournament ever begins next Friday in Salina.
The 32-7 Bullpups have not played 29-7 Hays, though they saw the Indians at the Newton Invitational, where they took second place.
“Hays has had one of their best seasons in recent years,” Doile said. “They are a group of girls that have been together working on volleyball since they were young. They go to their lefty middle that has a very quick arm swing. Their entire team plays smart and gives great effort. Setters come with good experience and seem to have a good connection with the hitters. They play several kids, trying to specialize and make the most of every rotation.”
Should the Bullpups get past Hays, a 33-4 Abilene team most likely awaits, though 17-19 Buhler could feed off its home crowd and pull a major upset.
Doile said the Cowgirls feature Jessica Hayes, one of the state’s top hitters. But they also have two outstanding middles that can block well.
The Bullpups, oddly, have not won a tournament this year. They did not lose a triangular match, but their seven losses all came to ranked teams in tourney play.
“We are hoping our tough schedule helps us be prepared to compete,” Doile said. “Playing Newton twice, (Goddard) Eisenhower twice, Lansing twice and Blue Valley North, even though they handed us most of our losses, I'd like to think it will help our skills. Not to mention Circle, Andale and Rose Hill, we've played all of them twice and they are all ranked in our division.”