NEWTON — After McPherson High’s volleyball team lost to Andover Central in the AVCTL Preseason Tournament back in August, Bullpup coach Christy Doile told her team it would somewhere down the road get the chance to avenge that defeat.
That time was Saturday.
Not only did the Bullpups avenge their only loss of the season, but they did it in emphatic fashion. After edging the Jaguars 25-23 in the first set of the finals of the Newton Invitational, they completed the match in runaway fashion with a 25-11 pounding.
“We had gathered in a Hutch High locker room after our first loss of the season to Andover Central,” Doile said. “We had battled pretty well, played outstanding in set 1, said all the right things, were good teammates, we just had too many errors in set 2 and set 3. I told the girls this loss will not define our day or season. We lost to a good team (ranked No. 3 in 4A as of Saturday). We will see them at the Newton tournament. You'll have another chance. And that is what happened. Our rematch was in the finals. Deep down that was what we hoped would happen.”
Doile said the second set of that title match was a thing of beauty.
“Set 2 was our best set of the day,” Doile said. “Our offense was on fire and our relentless effort to hustle on defense was a powerful combination. Set 2 we made adjustments in set placements to open up Megan Pedersen as Andover Central’s block had a pretty good bead on her in set 1. Magan Alexander ripped off some blistering spikes and then strategically dropped in some tips to frustrate their defense. On top of that, our other hitters were having success running their plays and our defense seemed to be almost flawless, diving all over the place to get balls up. Rhianna Smith deserves some credit for listening and delivering the set adjustments to Pedersen.”
To reach the finals, the Bullpups had defeated Wichita Heights (26-24, 25-17), Goddard Eisenhower (25-21, 25-22), Salina South (26-24, 25-15) and Andale (25-19, 25-10). It was a tough field as nearly half the teams were state ranked. The win over Wichita Heights was somewhat interesting for Doile, as the Falcons are coached by her sister-in-law, Tracy Doile-McHatton.
The “3Ms” were at it again. Pedersen led in kills with 49, one more than Alexander. Hannah Marshall chipped in with 21. Smith had an amazing 77 assists, while Pedersen added 37. Marshall, who was lauded for her all-around play by Doile, led in digs with 46 and Addie Simon added 37.
Marshall also had six aces and Alexander four.
Doile said a “fourth M” stepped up during the day as Taylor Metz came up with some important plays and some other players chipped in as well.
“Our offense still had our normal go-to kids, the 3 Ms, plus we got some positive numbers from our middles, (Rachel) Dossett, (Taylor) Metz, (Katlyn) Ruth and (Ashtyn) Schieferecke on the right side,” Doile said. “Sometimes I'm not happy with our effort on defense, but I saw this weekend some pure ‘I’m going to get this ball up attitude,’ multiple girls on the floor. Once the ball was up, it wasn't always perfect, but the ball was alive, which gives a chance to score. I appreciate their effort and their desire to compete.”
The Bullpups are now 18-1 and hope to avoid a letdown at home Tuesday when they entertain Circle and Augusta.