The McPherson High volleyball team entered its final match in Class 4A State Tournment pool play on Friday in an admittedly weird position.
The McPherson High volleyball team entered its final match in Class 4A State Tournment pool play on Friday in an admittedly weird position. The second-seeded Bullpups one year ago made it all the way to the finals before falling to then three-time defending champion St. James Academy. Friday, they found themselves in a must-win situation against Frontenac after suffering an upset in their second match of the day. MHS (40-5) opened up play at the Salina Bicentennial Center by shutting down seventh-seeded Buhler 2-0 (25-21, 25-15). In the second match, however, sixth-seed Topeka Hayden came out hard and fast, shocking a Bullpup team that didn’t quite recover. “I think we played a little tight,” coach Christy Doile said. “Hayden made more runs at us, and we didn’t handle them well.” Hayden stopped the Pups 25-20 in game one. A run in game two by senior Katelyn Loecker pulled MHS within two of the Wildcats, but it couldn’t get them over the hump. They fell 23-25. The loss to Hayden lit a fire in the Bullpups for their third match Friday afternoon, as they came out with all guns blazing against Frontenac, the tournament’s third seed. They stopped the Raiders 2-0 (25-10, 25-16). “It was a good wake up call,” Doile said of the Hayden loss. “I’m pretty sure the kids want to make a different statement than what they made today.” McPherson will have its opportunity to make that statement, as they have advanced to the semifinals at 10 a.m. today at the Bicentennial Center. MHS will face off with a familiar opponent in Rose Hill, whom McPherson has seen three times this season, winning twice. The Rockets went undefeated in their pool, winning 2-0 over Louisburg (25-16, 25-20), 2-0 over Basehor-Linwood (25-18, 25-22) and 2-0 over Chanute (25-18, 25-18). “They play hard,” Doile said. “They won’t back down.” Hayden ended up winning the pool with the Bullpups, as the Wildcats (21-13) took all three of their games. They dominated Buhler (25-11, 25-7) and Frontenac (25-6, 25-15). Buhler picked up it’s lone win against the Raiders, taking a 2-1 decision (23-25, 25-18, 25-17). They will face off with Louisburg, who went 2-1 on the day with 2-0 wins over Basehor-Linwood (25-11, 26-24) and Chanute (25-22, 19-25, 27-25). Chanute picked up a 2-0 (25-14, 25-18) win over Basehor-Linwood to round out the pool. All semifinal matches today start at 10 a.m. The consolation and championship matches will start 15 minutes after the last semi has concluded.