For most of McPherson High’s first set here Tuesday against Augusta, it appeared somebody forgot to oil the well-oiled Bullpup volleyball machine.
The Bullpups, coming off an emotional championship performance in last weekend’s Newton Invitational, couldn’t get out of their own way. They got behind the Orioles early and continued to flounder, facing set-point at 24-21.
Three terrific plays in a row by Magan Alexander enabled MHS to tie the set at 24 and the Bullpups eventually survived, 27-25.
Then it was business as usual. The Bullpups crushed Augusta 25-5 in the second set and then polished off Circle 25-17, 25-15 to run their winning streak to 20 since losing their very first match of the season to Andover Central.
It also made Senior Night a success as the Bullpups honored Taylor Neufeldt, Taylor Metz, Rhianna Smith and Hannah Marshall.
“Two things (contributed to the slow start), one I would say playing so well at Newton... and the second piece would be the testing all day... they tested all day today,” MHS coach Christy Doile said. “We had ACTs... they took four to five testing sessions today.”
But once the fifth-ranked Bullpups shook off the first-set malaise, they looked much like a team that is expected to climb in today’s Class 4A Division I rankings.
“Somehow we pulled that off, if that can be a compliment somehow,” Doile said of the opening set. “They’re proud that they came back and won. They’re not proud of their effort or their showing... that’s not who we were this weekend.”
Alexander led the Bullpups in kills with 17, one more than Megan Pedersen. Marshall served up five aces, with Alexander one back. Smith notched 24 assists and Marshall was tops in digs with 14, while Pedersen added 12.
The Bullpups’ JV also came up a winner, 25-14, 25-15 against Augusta and 25-19, 25-19 against Circle. Coach Diane Marshall was pleased with her team, which is now 12-6 on the year.
The Bullpups will try to capture a second straight tournament title Saturday when they compete at Ottawa, which includes several bigger-class and ranked schools.