SPRING HILL—Christy Doile, head coach of McPherson High School volleyball team, admitted that the Spring Hill Invitational was going to be the toughest invitational in their schedule. On Saturday, the Bullpups had to settle for two wins out of five matches played.

From the very start, the Bullpups went into three sets, and despite a strong 25-7 win in the first set, the Bullpups dropped two straight to Paola High School. (25-7, 23-25, 26-28).

"We were on track for set 1," Doile said. "We battled back-and-forth for set 2. Paola was playing pretty well. The same back and forth play continued in set 3, and we couldn't pull off the win. Paola played their best ball of the day vs. us. We needed to have more sense of urgency and play with more emotion to give us the momentum."

McPherson then lost its second straight match to undefeated Blue Valley Southwest High School in two sets (20-25, 19-25). The Bullpups eventually captured their first two wins over Kansas City High Schools of Turner (25-10, 25-3) and Piper (25-12, 25-13).

"The rest of the day we competed better," Doile said. "Blue Valley SW would go undefeated on the day. We battled them well but never had a lead. They have a talented lefty going to Ole Miss, who did a nice job of leading and scoring for her team."

At 2-2, the Bullpups went toe-to-toe with Spring Hill, an undefeated team, and No. 2 in Class 5A going into its home invitational. The Bullpups gave the Spring Hill the run for its money after winning the first set, but Spring Hill came up on top winning two straight (25-16, 24-26, 24-26). Spring Hill eventually lost to Blue Valley Southwest in the final. 

"We played our best ball of the day vs. Spring Hill," Doile said. "We got a nice win in set 1. We took the lead and never gave it up. Set 2. we were down 15-20. We tied it up at 21-21, continued to tie it up, but never got set point. Set 3 was back-and-forth the entire way."

Rhian Swanson led the Bullpups with 45 kills, and Cassie Cooks was second with 33 but was first with nine aces. Brette Doile collected 94 total assists. She and Ella Schmid also tied for second with eight aces. Taylor Casebeer had 37 digs, and Andrea was the block leader with 10.

McPherson is now 20-7 on the season. Before hosting its annual home invitational, the Bullpups will compete in a triangular with Buhler and El Dorado, which could be the deciding factor for the league title.

Contact Peter Holland Jr. by email at pholland@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow him on Twitter@Petes_Picks_