It wasn’t pretty, but it got the job done. That job was for McPherson High’s volleyball team to keep its winning streak alive Tuesday at Andover Central.
The Bullpups struggled in beating the host Jaguars (17-25, 30-28, 25-15) and Valley Center (25-18, 14-25, 25-21) to stay undefeated at 14-0.
The crucial matchup was against Valley Center. The Hornets entered the night tied with the Bullpups for first in the AVCTL Division II race.
Katelyn Loecker and Bethany Farres did the early heavy lifting on offense. Loecker had three kills and Farres two to help stake McPherson to an 11-6 lead.
The Hornets pulled to within three, 20-17, before the ‘Pups pulled away. Kills by Sophie Simon, Loecker and Briana Pontious extended their margin to six, 23-17. Loecker and Farres then pounded out kills for the win.
The Bullpups could not get untracked in the second set, falling behind 14-8. They never got any closer and lost 25-14.
The third set was a barnburner. McPherson took a 17-13 lead before Valley made its move. The Hornets scored six straight points for a 19-17 advantage. A kill by Farres ignited a seven-point run that gave the ‘Pups a 24-19 lead.
With the score tied, McPherson pulled away on kills from Kelcie Scott, Loecker and Simon. Paige Regnier followed with a service ace that plopped over the net, and Loecker blasted one through a block. Loecker also knocked down the winning point after Valley pulled to 24-21.
“I didn’t feel at any point like we were in control of the match,” MHS coach Christy Doile said. “Maybe just a little bit at the very end, but 24-20 against a good team is still not comfortable.”
Before McPherson played Valley Center, it had to contend with Andover Central. And it almost didn’t, as the Jaguars took the first set and pushed the Bullpups to 30-28 in the second.
“We consciously told the players, ‘You have to play Andover Central, and they’re a good team,’ ” Doile said. “I’m not totally convinced that their ears were completely open to that piece of advice.”
McPherson trailed early in the first set but led 11-8 before Central came from behind. The second set was back and forth, especially late. The Pups trailed 22-18 but rallied. In the third set, McPherson led all the way.
“It was a good match and a good lesson,” Doile said.
The MHS JVs came away with a split, losing to Andover Central in three sets (12-25, 25-12, 20-25) while defeating Valley Center in two (25-19, 26-24). MHS is now 11-2.
The Bullpups go to Newton for a tournament on Saturday.