Perhaps the biggest concern going into the season for the McPherson High volleyball team was how to replace probable All-Stater Mandi Cooks, lost for the year with an injury.
Judging from Tuesday’s impressive triangular sweep at the Roundhouse, the Bullpups aren’t going to replace Cooks with one player. Coach Christy Doile has just asked her other players to step up their games over last year and they did.
The hustling, never-give-up Bullpups were all over the court in both matches, defeating Wellington 25-16, 25-11 and then swamping Mulvane 25-9, 25-15.
The sweep improved the Bullpups to 6-2 on the young season.
“They are playing smart and tipping to specific locations,” said MHS coach Christy Doile, whose team relied as much on finesse as it did power. “Even if our setter doesn’t get the ball, we still kind of stay in our rhythm and other people can put the second ball up so we can still swing.”
In the first set against Wellington, the Bullpups were never seriously threatened after an 8-2 run swelled the lead to 14-5. In the second set, the Bullpups charged to a 15-2 lead before trading points the rest of the way.
MHS overwhelmed Mulvane in the first set, sprinting to a 14-1 lead. The second set was as close at 14-13 at one point, but the Bullpups went on an 11-2 rip to close out the match.
“Total team effort” often is overused when describing a performance, but that’s what the Bullpups had.
It’s evident early that Jaycee Burghart is Doile’s “coach on the floor,” as she came up with 37 assists in the two matches and directed the flow of the attack.
“She kind of goes unnoticed because you just get so used to the ball being where it’s supposed to be,” Doile said. “She’s always where she’s supposed to be. She gets to every ball... she’s so dependable that I think we take her for granted sometimes.”
Elle Barrett threw down the hammer with 19 kills, 12 of those coming against Mulvane. Michaela Bowers hustled to 14 digs, while Andrea Sweat and Cassie Cooks dominated at the net. Bailea Crist, Kenzie Goering Meghan Smith and Kallie Jost all contributed to the effort as they played their specific roles well.
The MHS JVs also were victorious in what was their season opener. MHS needed three sets to handle Wellington (25-18, 22-25, 25-17) and then polished off Mulvane in straight sets (25-21, 25-19).
Wellington defeated Mulvane (25-14, 17-25, 25-23) in the other varsity match.
MHS will face good competition on Tuesday at Andale, with Winfield the third team in the triangular.