The McPherson High School volleyball team is coming off a 38-8 2015 season, and advanced all the way to the state championship match, before falling to Bishop Miege in straight sets. The Bullpups begin play on Aug. 27 in Hutchinson.

The McPherson High School volleyball team lost a lot of talent from another 30 plus win team, which took second at the Class 4A Division I State Volleyball Tournament last year.

Rachel Dossett will lead a team that isn’t quite rebuilding, but has definitely lost some key pieces. Dossett was an All-AVCTL DIII Second Team member, and was named to the 2015 4A DI State Tournament Team a year ago. The Bullpups went 38-8 last season, and lost in the championship game in straight sets to Shawnee Mission-Bishop Miege.

“Our core group is made up of older, mature players,” Bullpups head coach Christy Doile said. “We have some younger kids that are going to push the upper classmen for playing time. We will have an entirely different look.”

Brooke Schrag is also back for her senior season, which gives the Bullpups a lot of versatility.

Doile says she will use Schrag to play setter or on defense; last season she was the starting setter opposite of Megan Pedersen, who is now at Washburn University.

“We are excited to have vocal returners that will lead the way and take on larger roles,” Doile said. “We have older kids that have waited their turn to have their shot on the varsity floor, and combine that with a couple younger kids that may win spots. We are excited to strategically piece together a new winning line-up.”

The Bullpups will rely on youth and athleticism in the back row, as Mandi Cooks and Elle Barrett will both be vying for playing time. Cooks won a state championship in the high jump, while Barrett struck for gold in the triple and long jump this past spring for the Bullpups track and field team.

Kenzie Goering is another track and field star, who will compete for a spot.

“We will have competition for spots,” Doile said. “We have two state track champions, who are great leapers. We have kids that love to compete, play multiple sports and have natural team chemistry.”

Elisabeth Evans, Chayce Pontious Elle Schrag and Bailea Crist all look to compete for defensive spots, while 5-foot-10 attacker Sydney Mossman is a newcomer to note.

Evans played significant minutes in last seasons run to the championship, and is expected to be the teams defensive specialist.

“We will be as good as our defense and passing will take us,” Doile said. “We graduated most of our back row players, and have several kids competing for back row playing time. We will be emphasizing to play smart volleyball and making good decisions during the rallies.”

The Bullpups open the season in the AVCTL Preseason Tournament, on Aug. 27 at Hutchinson High School.

Contact Gallagher Martin by email at gmartin@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @GMartinSentinel