McPherson High volleyball coach Christy Doile said all the ups and downs of the regular season were forgotten by late Saturday afternoon.
Her Bullpups basically cruised through their two matches of the Class 4A Division I Sub-State as they knocked off Hays in the semifinals and then No. 1-seed Ulysses in the finals to move on to the state tournament that begins on Friday at Salina’s Bicentennial Center.
The Bullpups set the tone from the first moment they walked on to the court, racing to a 9-0 lead over Hays behind the serving of Elle Barrett and the pounding kills of Rachel Dossett.
“We kept going hard every point and didn't let up,” Doile said of the first set. “Great leadership and game plan execution.”
Hays put up a better fight in the second set, but MHS took care of business.
Ulysses was somewhat of an unknown. Yes, it had the better record, but the strength of its schedule didn’t match up with the rugged slate the Bullpups played, which included numerous matches against ranked 6A and 5A teams.
Doile said the Bullpups went full throttle in the first set and they weren’t mentally affected by the points they lost. In the second set, MHS closed the Tigers out with a 15-3 run after it had been tied at 10-all.
“We played our best ball of the year. That is what we want,” Doile said as her team takes a 25-16 record to Salina on Friday. “Our team hitting percentage was over .400, our serve receive was high, more aces than errors on serves .... all good numbers. The leadership, preparation and unity from our team, it was amazing. I am proud of their team effort and chemistry. I am very proud of our program.”
The Bullpups are one of the staples of the state tournament as they will be making a seventh straight appearance and were second last year to Miege. They will have to deal with nemesis Rose Hill in the first round and they are 0-2 against the Rockets this year. Independence and Andover Central are the other teams in the pool.
MHS’ first match is 3:30 p.m. Friday. After an hour break, it plays Independence at 6:30 and then turns around and plays Andover Central at 7:30, a match that could very well determine whether it returns on Saturday for the 2 p.m. semifinals.