HUTCHINSON — It won’t be Cupcake City for McPherson High’s volleyball team when it opens the season Saturday in the fiercely competitive Hutchinson Tournament.
Sixteen teams make up four pools, with the subsequent matches to be determined by the results of the three pool matches. Among the favorites are Goddard Eisenhower, Maize, Andover Central, Andover and Valley Center, all of which figure to be ranked throughout the season.
MHS coach Christy Doile has averaged more than 30 wins in her 10 years at the helm. The Bullpups were 38-8 last year and took second in the state to Bishop Miege, which will have a new coach this year as longtime veteran coach Gwenn Pike has retired.
Doile is having to replace a quintet of amazing seniors who left their legacy on the program. She is having to sift through a raft of candidates and hopes to settle on a consistent rotation soon.
“We are running two different lineups,” said Doile, who looks at this tournament as an evaluator.
At this point there is no starting lineup set in stone, but candidates include Mandi Cooks, Elle Barrett, Rachel Dossett, Kenzie Goering, Jaycee Burghart, Elisabeth Evans, Bailea Crist, Brooke Schrag and Sydney Mossman.
Doile has questions of her own. She wants to see which players can stand up to the pressures of playing in the big moments and how the returning players can handle their increased responsibilities.
The Bullpups are in a pool that includes Campus, Maize and Valley Center, which should be rugged. Valley Center has a strong tradition, while Campus and Maize are much bigger schools.
MHS’ first match is at 8 a.m. against Campus.