NEWTON — In a battle of state-ranked volleyball teams, Class 6A’s No. 5-ranked Wichita Northwest defeated McPherson High, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, 25-20, 25-19 in the finals of the Newton Invitational Saturday.
MHS had gone 4-0 to win its pool, then outlasted host Newton in three sets (22-25, 25-11, 25-23) in the semifinals.
“I was pleased and proud to see how impressively our team bounced back from our loss on Tuesday,” MHS coach Christy Doile said. “Our offense, which is generated by our passers and setters, were finishing plays. Our serving was strong, accurate and helped us win points. In a perfect world we would of carried our impressive day to the finals.”
Doile said a number of players stepped up.
“Our team was led by Katelyn Loecker and Paige Regnier, they both had their best performances of the year,” Doile said. “Tashley Snyder continues to lead us defensively and be a rally- ending offensive threat from our right-side. Moira Pyle deserves credit for scheming and locating our offense.”
Loecker’s play was impressive.
“During the Newton match, Katelyn was probably the loudest player in the gym, she was inspiring and directing her teammates,” Doile said “I haven’t seen her lead with that much passion this season. Her teammates followed her lead and equally matched her determination.”
Wichita Northwest was a handful in the finals.
“Northwest also has big middles and a tall right side that caused problems for opposing hitters,” Doile said. “We came out flat in Set 1 and didn’t seem to get in rhythm after the emotional win over Newton. Set 2 we had a better start, but couldn’t maintain it. Northwest took the lead midway and we were unable to match their level of play at the end of the day. We were disappointed to end the day on such a low note after we played probably our best volleyball of the season, but just couldn’t find our rhythm or get the momentum during the last match.”
MHS’ pool wins were impressive — Wichita Heights (25-12, 25-23), Dodge City (25-11, 25-10), Buhler (25-11, 25-12) and Andale (25-16, 25-15).
The Bullpups, now 18-2, are at Mulvane today