McPherson College’s volleyball team nearly shook the KCAC to its foundation here Wednesday night.
KCAC leader Ottawa, which came into the match 17-0 in the conference and hardly taken past three sets, was pushed to the five-set limit by the gutty Bulldogs before a wildly enthusiastic Sport Center crowd.
After Ottawa blitzed the Bulldogs 25-14 in the first set, back came Mac with a 25-20 victory. The Bulldogs then put the Braves on tilt with a third-set 25-21 victory.
But the veteran Braves regrouped. They survived the frenetic fourth set 25-23 after trailing 21-18, then won the finale 15-8 as they continue their pursuit of history by staying undefeated in conference play and are 24-7 overall.
The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 11-8 in the KCAC and 18-10 overall, but they certainly earned the respect of Ottawa, which lost only one KCAC match all of last year as it’s now 37-1 in its last 38 KCAC duals.
“This was the match I saw the most heart and will to win in the girls," Mac coach Jessica Cleveland said. "My goal was to win one set and their’s was to win more. We couldn't clinch the upset in the fifth set, but we proved to Ottawa we are here to compete. We were not scared of their big hitters and we played well defensively.”
Lexi Kite, emerging as one of the KCAC’s top players, had another double-double with 19 kills and 10 digs. Jocelyn Cochran also doubled with 10 kills and 23 digs. Morgan Little gave Mac a third double-double with 25 assists and 10 digs. Emily Warner led in digs with 26.
The Bulldogs are home on Friday for Senior Night to take on Sterling, which is a trap match. The Warriors are only 5-13 in the KCAC and the Bulldogs have little time to dwell on the near upset. Mac definitely needs a win if it’s to have a chance to host a home playoff game in the KCAC Tournament.
The Bulldogs close out KCAC play on the road next week at York and Kansas Wesleyan.