It’s been a long time since McPherson College’s volleyball team has been good enough to worry about a “trap match.”
The Bulldogs, in the first division of the KCAC, entertained arch-rival Bethany College on Wednesday at the Sport Center, knowing a rematch with conference power Oklahoma Wesleyan is looming around the corner on Saturday.
But the Bulldogs took care of their lower-division opponent with a 25-19, 25-21, 25-17 sweep to move to 8-5 in the KCAC and 15-7 overall as they continue their remarkable turnaround from a 7-25 season from a year ago.
Prior to the contest, student leaders from both institutions gathered on the court to symbolize the unity between the rivals in response to acts of violence perpetrated against the Bethany College community in recent weeks.
Only in the second set, where the Swedes took a 10-5 lead before Bulldog coach Jessica Cleveland called a timeout, was Mac seriously pushed. In the third set, Bethany did hold an 11-10 lead, but the Bulldogs went on a serious run to put it away.
For Mac, Jocelyn Cochran had 13 kills, Kaitlyn Heinis led in assists with 18 and Emily Warner was tops in digs with 15. Carli Vashholtz led Bethany with 9 kills, Eileen Vlamis had 16 assists and Connor Stolley led in digs with 22.
“It was a fun event where both teams could come together and take a stand on a common ground," Cleveland said. "After playing well against Bethany at their place, we picked it up defensively this round with 16 blocks and 53 digs. Jocelyn Cochran, a senior, stepped up, playing almost flawlessly going both ways. This match gives us confidence heading into Homecoming Weekend with Southwestern and Oklahoma Wesleyan."
Mac plays back-to-back days as it hosts Southwestern in another potential “trap” game on Friday and then makes the trip to Oklahoma Wesleyan on Saturday. Friday’s match at the Sport Center has a 2 p.m. starting time.
Bethany is now 5-8 in the KCAC as it missed on a chance to get closer to .500 in conference play and is 7-15 overall.