MARSHALL, Mo. — For the second day in a row, the McPherson College volleyball team split a pair of matches at the Missouri Valley College Viking Invitational.
The Bulldogs (2-2) opened Saturday with a 3-1 win over Avila (Mo.) before being swept by host Missouri Valley.
McPherson overcame an early deficit in the first set, using a five-point run midway through the set to turn a two-point deficit into a three-point lead. Avila rallied to tie the set at 17-17, but the Bulldogs scored eight of the final 11 points to win the first set.
After an even start to the second set, Avila used a five-point run of its own to grab a lead it would not relinquish en route to a 25-19 win to even the match at a set apiece.
The Bulldogs charged back in the third set, leading by 10 at one point, before a Lexi Kite kill closed out a 25-16 victory. McPherson scored the first three points of the fourth set and never looked back, winning 25-17.
Jessica Sanders led a balanced McPherson attack with 10 kills, four service aces and six blocks (one solo, five assists). Leia Seiler and Lexi Kite added eight kills apiece while Devrie Sombers and Jocelyn Cochran both had six.
Kaitlyn Heinis had a team-high 19 assists, while Morgan Little added 14. Defensively, Emily Warner had 23 digs and Cochran and Jamie Siess posted 10 apiece. Sombers also posted six blocks, including two of McPherson's three solo putbacks.
Avila finished with more kills (45) than McPherson (42), but the Bulldogs had eight fewer attack errors, more blocks (12 to Avila's 7) and a 9-0 advantage in service aces.
The Eagles were led by Lindsey Griggs and Cydney Newton with 10 kills apiece. Paige Dosch and Ariana Linnenbrink each posted 21 assists, while Lindsey Butler had 25 digs.
In the second half of the double-header, host Missouri Valley held McPherson to an .038 attack percentage on the way to the three-set win. The Vikings sprinted out to a 6-0 lead in the opening set and cruised to a 25-9 win.
MVC grabbed a 22-15 lead in the second set. McPherson cut the advantage to 22-20, but the Vikings took the final three points to extend their lead in the match to 2-0.
In the third set, the teams got off to an even start. An MVC ball-handling error tied the set at 16-16 but the Vikings won nine of the last 12 rallies to close out the set and match.
Sanders posted a team-best seven kills as a subdued Bulldog offense managed only 22 for the entire match. Lexi Kite added four kills while Sombers, Seiler and Cochran each posted three. Little grabbed 11 of McPherson's 22 assists with Heinis picking up 10. Warner recorded a team-best 11 digs while Kite added 10.
Lauren Eldridge and Dakota Santore each posted a match-high 11 kills to lead Missouri Valley.
At the conclusion of the tournament, Lexi Kite was one of 10 individuals named to the all-tournament team.
McPherson opens the 2016 home schedule Wednesday evening when Bethel visits the McPherson College Sports Center. The match also serves as the KCAC opener for both schools.