The McPherson College Bulldog volleyball team picked up another win on Wednesday night, sweeping the Saint Mary Spires in straight sets, at the friendly confines of the Sport Center.
The Bulldogs opened the match with an efficient 25-13 drubbing of the Spires. Defensively, the Spires didn't have an answer for the Bulldog offense that registered a kill on every other swing. They finished the set with 14 kills on 28 attempts, led by Riley Bradbury, who was 6 for 10 with zero errors.
The second half, the Spires made some adjustments, and the Bulldogs were less efficient than in the opening set. They still took the set 25-17, but the Spires made them work a little harder for it. They had two more kills (16) than they did in the first set, but they did so on 12 more attempts (40). The Mac ladies also made a few more unforced errors on serve and serve receive.
The third and what turned out to be the final set of the match, nearly got away from the Bulldogs. The Spires took them the distance, even having a set point against the home team at 24-23. But one of the hallmarks of the 2018 Bulldogs is their resiliency and to a person, their belief that they are going to win, no matter what they face.
After the Spires took the lead 24-23, Coach Cleveland called time out. Out of the break, the Bulldogs earned the sideout, and tied the game at 24 on a thunderous kill by Lexi Kite. On the next point, the Bulldogs took the lead 25-24 on another big hit, this time by Devrie Sombers. Kaitlyn Heinis served a second time, and after libero Jamie Siess dug up the Spires' attack, Heinis then set a perfect ball to Kite, who finished off the match with another impressive kill.
If it hadn't been for a subpar hitting performance in the final set, the Bulldog offense would have had an impressive attack percentage for the match. As it was, they finished by hitting .225, recording 44 kills on 120 swings, with 17 errors. Kite and Bradbury both finished with double digit kill totals, Kite with 12, and Bradbury with 11. On defense, the ladies as a team, finished with eight blocks, led by Sombers, who was a monster in the middle, assisting on five of those eight blocks. On the back row, Kite and Siess combined to record 27 digs, just over half of the Bulldogs' total of 52. Siess led the way with 14, followed by Kite who had 13.
"St. Mary's was one of those matches where we got to show off how balanced we are as team," said Coach Cleveland. "Players stepped up at different times to change the momentum and impact of the game." She praised the play of Kite saying, "Lexi was dominant both offensively, hitting.400, and defensively with 13 digs." Cleveland concluded by saying, "With the postseason so close in sight, we are focused to win. We have a lot more volleyball to go and they are proving that every game and every practice."
The win is the 15th in a row for the Bulldogs, and puts them at 26-1 overall on the season and a perfect 9-0 in the KCAC. They will put their perfect conference record on the line again Saturday when they host York College in a KCAC match at 1:00 and then Mount Marty College, a non-conference match, at 5 p.m. Following the York match, the Bulldogs will have a ceremony honoring their senior players.