McPherson High will be taking the winningest volleyball team in school history to Salina this week after blitzing the field in Saturday’s Class 4A substate.
The Bullpups eclipsed the school record for victories in the finals with a 25-20, 25-21 decision over Abilene. The previous record for wins was 39 in 2004.
MHS, which competed last year in the Class 5A state event, will take a 40-2 record to Salina for Friday’s state pool play, which starts at 3:30 p.m. The Bullpups are the No. 2 seed overall, as nationally ranked Lenexa St. James Academy is the top seed with a 40-1 record, the only loss coming to a team from Nebraska.
“I was very proud of their effort,” MHS coach Christy Doile said. “They played fearless and made it a point to set the pressure and nerves aside. Part of our game plan was to play hard every ball and have no regrets. If we would recover quickly and do that, we felt we would have the advantage.”
MHS opens state play at 3:30 p.m. Friday at the Bicentennial Center against Circle, and also plays future Division III opponent Rose Hill before closing with perennial 4A power Holton.
MHS roared through the first two matches of substate, taking apart Chapman (25-2, 25-2) and Buhler (25-25-23, 25-10).
“Buhler came at us with a great game plan and giving us their best shot in set one,” Doile said. “The first set was 25-23 and it was a great test of our composure when teams make a run. Set two, Buhler settled down a bit and they weren't able to get it rolling like they did in set one. Our serving, passing and offense kept us moving forward.”
In the finals, the Bullpups went up against an Abilene team that was 34-4, but it was all MHS all the time, 25-20, 25-21.
Doile said Abilene put up a great battle. The Bullpups controlled the first set, but Abilene led much of the way in the second before MHS closed with a rush. Moira Pyle had some good serving down the stretch and Doile said Sydney McClendon came up with some big digs.
“Several kids in our offense got kills to earn us points during our run,” Doile said. “It was a great volleyball environment, small gym, loud gym. Both teams had great student and community support.”
State pairings can be found in the scoreboard on page B-2.