McPherson High School went up against some Class 6A heavyweights Saturday during the Ottawa Invitational, holding their own and finishing second behind 6A No. 8 Blue Valley West.
The Bullpups had no issues in pool play to start the day, defeating Topeka West (25-10, 25-10), Emporia (25-20, 25-8) and Ottawa (25-11, 25-17).
That set up a showdown in the semifinals with Class 6A No. 3 Olathe South, whom MHS took down 2-0 (25-22, 25-15).
“[Olathe South was] one of the tallest teams we've played,” McPherson coach Christy Doile said. “We were up for the challenge and weren't intimidated by their size or ranking. Set one was very close, a back-and-forth match. Set two we got a 10-point-plus lead and kept the momentum. We gave up about five points, when they were serving our game point 24. It took us several to final side-out, but we had a big enough lead to give up those points.”
The Bullpups were then faced with BV West in the finals. McPherson (24-2) fought hard, but fell 22-25, 15-25.
“They played amazing, with energy, fire and grit,” Doile said of Blue Valley West. “They also brought size and experience. Earlier in the day they were streaky, but only for a bit in set two did they show that side. We gave up an early lead in set two when we struggled in serve receive. We gave up too many aces and didn't get the first ball to our setter to keep us in system.”
Paige Regnier led the Pups in hitting percentage with 41.7 percent, followed closely behind by Janae Barnes’ 34.8 percent. Regnier also led the way in kills. Moira Pyle led the way in aces with six, with only one service error.
The Pups are away at El Dorado tonight for a triangular that also includes Mulvane. They will host the annual McPherson Invitational Saturday at the MHS Roundhouse.
Contact Chris Swick by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.