Perhaps it was the perfect way for the McPherson High School volleyball team to end its regular season.
On one hand, the Bullpups never trailed in their triangular with El Dorado and Buhler Tuesday night at the Roundhouse. On the other, El Dorado and Buhler supplied a sufficient challenge, making the Bullpups work for every point. In the end, five seniors were sent off on positive notes as the Bullpups came away with a pair of straight set wins.
McPherson improves to 34-5 on the season, just in time for regionals on Saturday in Ulysses, where the Bullpups will be the No. 1 overall seed.
“Our seniors are multi-sport athlete that committed themselves to multiple programs in our high school; I am thankful for them wanting to be apart of our program,” head coach Christy Doile said. “They are great role models for our athletes by embracing being a multi-sport athlete.”
The Bullpups opened up against El Dorado, jumping out to a quick 4-0 lead and then a 13-6 lead to force a timeout from the Wildcats. McPherson scored seven consecutive points out of the timeout and would go on to take the first set, 25-14.
It looked as though it would be much of the same in the second set, as the Bullpups quickly went ahead 12-3 forcing an El Dorado timeout. However, the Wildcats roared back to cut the lead to 15-14. The second set went the distance, but the Bullpups prevailed, 25-23.
After Buhler handled El Dorado in straight sets, the Crusaders and Bullpups renewed their rivalry in front of a fiery Roundhouse.
The Bullpups held a slight lead for most of the first set, with Buhler always in striking distance. The Bullpups created a little more separation as the set went on, and pulled away late to take the first set, 25-17.
The second set was contested as well, but the Bullpups still managed to jump out to an early 8-4 lead forcing a Buhler timeout. With the lead at 14-12, the Bullpups rallied off four straight points for some much needed breathing room. The four point stretch was all the Bullpups needed to win the second set, 25-20.
Buhler has played McPherson close multiple times this season, as Doile expects the Crusaders to get one more crack at the upset in Ulysses.
“We will most likely play Buhler on Saturday,” Doile said. “They have taken us to three sets before, and we are pretty familiar with each other. They have some key hitters that we need to shut down.”
A chance to qualify for state begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday in the Ulysses Regional.