McPherson High School girls’ tennis coach Tyler Brown knows what the expectations are for his 2014 Bullpups.

McPherson High School girls’ tennis coach Tyler Brown knows what the expectations are for his 2014 Bullpups.
McPherson won just it’s second state championship last October in dominating fashion, thanks to a total team effort on the part of all six girls who went to state. The end result was a 20-point win in Wichita over second place Independence.
With four of those six Bullpups back in 2014, including the reigning state champion doubles team, a repeat isn’t out of the discussion.
“Obviously, the expectation has got to be pretty high off of what we did last year as state champs,” Brown said. “You obviously can’t aim for anything lower than [a state championship]. I think the big thing that will be something in the works is watching Wichita Collegiate, because any school that plays tennis knows that they’ve got four or five girls that are outstanding that will be really tough to beat.”
Collegiate,  a long-time power in girls tennis and the reigning Class 3-1A state champs, dropped down to Class 3A with the reclassification done last year. Brown feels that Collegiate will move back up to 4A when enrollment numbers are released later in September, as the freshman class coming in is reportedly a lot bigger than the 2014 senior class.
That would leave two of the 2013 state champions battling it out for the top spot, should things play out as Brown believes they will with the reclassification.
He likes the Bullpups’ chances, however.
His No. 1 doubles team of seniors Camry Holle and Emily Ediger  went 4-0 in the 2013 state tournament to capture the doubles title. That included a revenge match against Kaylee and Lanie Page, the sister duo from Wamego. The Page sisters had defeated Holle and Ediger in the regional finals, but the MHS duo got the win when it mattered, as they defeated Wamego 6-2, 4-6, 7-6 (7-0).
Sophomore Ellea Ediger finished second at the state championship, while senior Katlyn Reifschneider took sixth place in the singles competition. Brown has toyed with the idea of pairing the two up to take the second doubles position, which would open up the last two spots to the rest of the team, which includes seven to eight seniors. However, nothing is set in stone.
“We may go with several combinations this year,” Brown said. “Typically, we go with what we like and ride it through the year. But this may be a year where we just try to give several combinations records, and a win or a loss here and there may determine what we do for regionals.”
Among the seniors vying for the last two spots on the varsity roster are Madison Hoffman and Riley Burghart. Sophomore Rachel Ivers was mentioned by Brown as a possible doubles contender, as well as junior Cassidy Corrigan.
Despite the relative uncertainty of the line up for McPherson, the Kansas Tennis Coaches Association likes the depth of talent on the Bullpup roster, as they have seeded MHS first in the preseason Class 4A state rankings released Sunday.
Independence is No. 2, followed by Andover Central, Topeka Hayden and Winfield. Collegiate is No. 1 in 3-1A.
While it seems a showdown at state seems almost fated between the Lady Pups and Collegiate, Brown isn’t changing his goals for the season.
“Every year, we try to have the overall picture of taking home a plaque,” Brown said, “first, second or third. If we can do that again with the girls we have, I would think it would be a pretty successful season.”

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