McPherson High and Bishop Miege, the volleyball teams that met for the Class 4A Division I state championship last year, are the bottom two seeds in this year’s state meet that gets under way on Friday at Salina’s Bicentennial Center.
Given their pedigree, though, nobody is going to count them out.
The Bullpups, 25-16 on the season, and defending champion Miege, just 11-28, are in opposite pools, but could very well advance to Saturday’s Final Four.
MHS has been in the Final Four four of the last five years. It won it all in 2012, took second in 2015 and 2011, while finishing third in 2014.
"We are thankful for another opportunity at state and we are going to prepare like crazy to get to the Final 4 on Saturday," MHS coach Christy Doile said.
The Bullpups open play at 3:30 p.m. Friday against Rose Hill, whose 34-6 record includes two wins over MHS. The Rockets routed the Bullpups in the first meeting, but the teams played last week and in both sets it was close until late.
After a nice break, the Bullpups gear up for back-to-back battles with Independence (31-8) and Andover Central (26-15) at 6:30 and 7:30, respectively. If MHS makes it out of pool play, it would play at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Bullpups played Andover Central in the Newton Tournament, losing a couple of close sets. However, that was the fourth of four straight matches for the Bullpups on that day and the Jaguars were coming off an hour break. Independence comes out of the Southeast Kansas League, which has struggled at the state tournament as SEK teams generally don't see the competition as those in the central part of the state.
This is the seventh year in a row overall that MHS has made state as it began its run in 2010 by making the 5A state event.