NEWTON — There was no rest for the weary on Saturday in the Newton Invitational for the McPherson High volleyball team.
The Bullpups, who entered the day riding an 11-match winning streak and standing 12-2 overall, went 2-4 in the round-robin event— with all the losses to ranked teams.
“Disappointing for sure, but we will learn from our mistakes and it will make us better at playing tight, close, uncomfortable matches,” MHS coach Christy Doile said. “We were in every set except one that we were completely outplayed versus Newton (last set of the day). It will make us clean up our silly mistakes and keep more serves in. I can't complain or be disappointed in their teamwork and effort. They were crisp in warm-ups, ready to play, talking, encouraging through the matches.”
The tournament set-up also didn’t exactly benefit the Bullpups.
“Our schedule allowed four of the six teams to rest (an hour) right before they played us, which we found their coaches and teams watching us as we played,” Doile said. “We played four matches in a row, 30-minute lunch, and played two more matches. My girls never complained and did a good job of preparing themselves with meals and water to go hard. We were able to play our bench in match 2 and 3 to give some of our girls a break. Our bench did a great job in those matches, Elle Schrag and Chayce Pontious.”
MHS started 2-1, losing to Andale (21-25, 26-28), but beating Salina South (25-12, 25-8) and Wichita Heights (25-17, 25-16).
Then came a gauntlet of ranked teams and the Bullpups used a lot energy in going 0-3. They lost to Andover Central (22-25, 18-25), Goddard Eisenhower (21-25, 23-25) and Newton (18-25, 10-25).
Doile said the Bullpups had a lead in both sets against Andale, but just could not finish it off. Against Andover Central, the Bullpups lost a close first set and then got off to a slow start in the second set that they couldn’t recover from. Doile liked the fight in the Eisenhower match as the team lost two close sets, but once MHS played rested Newton there wasn’t a lot left in the tank.
“Our stats overall were pretty good, giving us a chance to win,” Doile said. “We only had three less kills on the day than our opponents. Our hitting average and receive numbers were above average, every hitter was positive. We were short four points per set on average on the day. We gave too many points away in serving errors, getting aced and blocking errors in comparison to our opponents. Those errors were the difference in winning and losing.”
Several Bullpups had good days.
“Sydney Mossman had a good day on offense,” Doile said. “Brooke Schrag and Elisabeth Evans had a strong defensive day. Elisabeth slammed into bleachers to save a ball, silenced the crowd and had to recover on the bench for a few points versus Andover Central.”
The Bullpups, now 14-6, head to Rose Hill on Tuesday.