SALINA — Survive and move on.
That’s all McPherson High volleyball coach Christy Doile had in mind Friday in the opening day of the Class 4A Division I State Tournament at the Bicentennial Center.
After losing to Louisburg in the first match, MHS was in must-win mode the rest of the way and it did just that with straight-set victories over DeSoto and Andale.
MHS, now 35-7, is matched against Topeka Hayden at 2 p.m. today, with the other match pitting defending champion Miege against Louisburg, a rematch of last year’s title match.
"Very proud of our girls,” Doile said. “They all contributed. (Taylor) Metz was great on blocks and getting touches, had a timely kill in Andale set 2. Magan (Alexander) and Megan (Pedersen) kept us steady, they were able to work through some of their mistakes and keep swinging. The other teams were trying to put up their best block against them. They both put down some amazing balls as they worked around the blocks.
“Hannah (Marshall) seemed to come up big when we needed a kill from her, she was mixing up her hit selections to find holes in the block. Ashtyn Schieferecke and Addie Simon had some amazing digs. Rhianna (Smith) was such an emotional leader and again diving all over the court. (Katlyn) Ruth and (Rachel) Dossett worked together to fill the other middle spot, they got timely blocks, positive touches and a few kills apiece. Taylor Neufeldt came into serve for multiple people. She had a couple nice strings for us. Our bench was into the match and emotionally gave us a boost. The effort and heart of this team was top notch. We need to serve and receive better today.”
Here are Doile’s thoughts on each match:
• Louisburg. “We got up 20-13 and they chipped away at our lead. We battled it down to a 28-30 loss. Loved how we came out and game plan was working. We had some game points, but didn't take advantage. Game 2 was also close and we had to come back. I believe we were down 15-20 when I called our final timeout. We were having trouble defending their hitters. For us to win, we needed to improve our receive numbers and serving. We missed too many serves. Very proud of their effort and blocking. They were diving all over the place and playing their hearts out. Magan Alexander and Megan Pedersen led the way with hitting efficiency and kills.”
• DeSoto — “We were able to defend a nice KC team. We seemed to battle ourselves some and we weren't in rhythm as much as we were against Louisburg. Our points seemed harder to earn and we were able to win, not maybe playing our best at times. We were defending their middles well and had to make an adjustment on their OH hitter that was beating us down the line.”
Andale — We played them for the third time this season. We were 2-0 against them and they put up a great battle. We found ourselves down 20-23 in set 1 and battled back. We won 30-28. That was a emotional boost for us, we needed that. Set 2 we get down 3-8, I call time-out. I knew were making errors and they had earned maybe 1 point out of 8. Coach (Cheryl) Malm brought the stats over. I thought we were passing a 2.0 and her numbers said 1.0, whoa...and we had two serving errors. We took the lead or tied by 10 points after that timeout. Pedersen had a second ball kill off a great dig from our back-row to put them away after a long rally.”
• Kills •
Megan Pedersen, 33
Magan Alexander, 23
Hannah Marshall, 13
• Aces •
Magan Alexander, Hannah Marshall and Addie Simon had 2
• Assists •
Rhianna Smith, 45
Megan Pedersen, 17
• Digs •
Hannah Marshall, 21
Addie Simon, 18
Magan Alexander, 16
Megan Pedersen, 12