The McPherson Bulldogs opened their KCAC season Wednesday evening with a three-set sweep of Bethel College in the Sport Center while raising their season record to 13-1, the best start in school history.
In set one, McPherson used an 6-0 run to take an early 7-1 lead before Bethel managed to cut the difference to three at 11-8 and 12-9. But, McPherson came right back with another 7-1 run, keyed by kills by Devrie Sombers and to force a Thresher time-out with the Bulldogs up 18-10. Bethel never narrowed the Bulldogs' margin to less than six the rest of the way as McPherson took set one by a 25-18 score. Lexi Kite led the McPherson attack with three kills while Leia Seiler, Riley Bradbury, Bree Wallace and Woog each contributed a pair of kills while Jamie Siess logged a pair of service aces and topped the Bulldogs with five digs.
Bethel jumped out to a 4-0 in set two, but the Bulldogs reeled off a 20-2 run behind the serving of Rianne Richard and Leia Seiler's five kills on seven attacks along with solid team play at the net. Only once during the set after its initial 4-0 run was Bethel able to put together back-to-back points as McPherson finished off the 25-9 win.
Set three went back-and-forth early on and was tied one final time at 5-5 before McPherson rode Jamie Siess' service to a 9-0 run, and took the any suspense out of the third and deciding set, winning 25-14. Leia Seiler finished off her night with four more kills while Alicia Hall tacked on three and Devrie Sombers along with Lexi Kite each added a pair. Rianne Richard and Siess led the McPherson defense with five and four digs, respectively.
Leia Seiler's 11 kills on the evening off a .611 hitting percentage along with Kite's seven kills and five kills for Sombers and Bradbury led the way for the Bulldog offense. Kaitlyn Heinis keyed the offense with 23 assists while Siess finished the evening with 16 digs. The Bulldogs totaled 14 assisted blocks on the evening led by Woog's six.
"1-0 is a good start to conference play," commented coach Jessica Cleveland afterwards.
2018 finds the KCAC moving to a single, round robin of conference play this season
"With the change to one round of conference play every single match is crucial. (Hannah) Seiler stepped up for us offensively, (Kaitlyn) Heinis set our hitters to succeed and (Jamie) Siess defended the back row."Cleveland noted. "We've played in three tough tournaments the last three weekends to prepare for conference play. Tonight, we utilized what we've learned playing against the tough teams we've been matched up with in those tournaments."
The Bulldogs will return to action Friday evening when they travel to Lindsborg, Kans. for a 7 p.m., non-KCAC encounter with the Swedes of Bethany College. McPherson's next KCAC match will be next Wednesday, Sept. 19, at Tabor College in Hillsboro.