HESSTON — Led by the No. 1 doubles team of Ellea Ediger and Rachel Ivers, the McPherson High girls tennis team kicked off the 2016 season with a first place showing at the Hesston Invitational.

Fresh off a second place finish last year in doubles at the state tournament, Ediger and Ivers are no doubt the doubles team to beat in 4A, and proved so Thursday afternoon in Hesston.

The senior duo won their first two matches by a combined score of 16-2, before taking on a talented doubles team from Buhler. And although the score might tell a different story, Ediger and Ivers needed their A-game to come away with a victory, which they did 8-3.

“They’re going to be the leaders of the team this year,” head coach Tyler Brown said. “They work hard all summer long, but there’s something about the first meet of the year, especially when four of the teams here could be in our regional. It’s good to come in here and win it.”

But it was a total team effort, as the Bullpups had all four of their entries on the winning side of the bracket.

At No. 1 singles, junior Maisie Edmonson had a solid day, going 2-1 for second place. Edmonson ran into a buzzsaw in Hesston’s Morgan Holopirek, who won the No. 1 singles bracket for the second year in a row.

Last season, Edmonson and double teammate Cassidy Corrigan were on the verge of placing at state, but fell short by one match. Edmonson proved she can compete at high levels in singles, but will probably get some doubles action later on in the season.

“I’m happy with what I decided to go with today,” Brown said. “Maisie has a good, consistent game, but Morgan has that kind of game that can overwhelm you. It’s tough to counter that and get her off balance point after point.”

Making her varsity debut as a freshman, Taylor Bruce marched all the way to the No. 2 singles championship, before falling in a close one to Sophie Smith of Smoky Valley.

“When I saw Taylor get into a tournament, I saw her go into a new level,” Brown said. “We had two other girls who just missed out on making the top six, who could have done some good things at this tournament.”

The No. 2 doubles team of Heidi Myers and Ashley Achilles had the roughest day, as they could have very well have joined the rest of the team in their championship match. But Myers and Achilles squandered a golden opportunity in a tiebreaker, and fell 8-7 (6).

The two then lost another close one in the third place match to settle with fourth.

“I was pleased with Ashley and Heidi,” Brown said. “They had an unbelievably tough semifinal. They just couldn’t close it out, but it’s a learning experience.”

The Bullpups tallied 24 team points, just one more than second place Smoky Valley, and play next on Sept. 1 at home.

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