After her McPherson High volleyball team performed flawlessly in a 25-9, 25-16 rout of Augusta to open the day Tuesday at the Roundhouse, Christy Doile thought the Bullpups were primed to give undefeated, No. 1-ranked and defending Class 4A Division I state champion Rose Hill perhaps its best test of the year.
But it was evident early that while the Bullpups are ranked No. 5 in 4A D-I, there’s quite a gulf between the teams.
The Rockets, perhaps stoked by the thought of being challenged, came out with their afterburners glowing as they left no doubt with a 25-10, 25-6 domination that left the Bullpups somewhat shaken emotionally. The Rockets, led by All-Stater and KU commit Gracie Van Driel, powered their way to a 10-2 lead in the first set and then jumped all over the Bullpups in the second, scoring 17 of the first 18 points. The visions of last year’s 25-2 loss to the Rockets sprang up, but MHS did have a brief 3-0 run for some semblance of competitiveness.
“It’s safe to say they got us out of our system, they got us out of our rhythm and they got in our heads a little bit,” Doile said. “Some of it is due to them and some of it, quite honestly, is due to our mental toughness. We did not handle it as well as we would have liked to. We didn’t see anything unexpected. We knew what they were going to do. We didn’t do what we needed to do on our side of the floor.”
Against Augusta, Elle Barrett came out smoking for the Bullpups, throwing down 12 first-set kills and had 17 in the two matches. Miachael Bowers had 10 digs, Jaycee Burghart had 23 assits and Cassie Cooks notched 4 aces, one more than Bailea Crist.
“It was a good start,” Doile said. “I thought we came ready to play. We didn’t play (down) to their level. So I thought we’re ready to roll, we’re ready for tonight.”
The loss to Rose Hill — which is now 18-0 and has lost only three sets all year — snapped a seven-match winning streak for the Bullpups, now 11-3 on the season. They head to Newton this weekend for a round-robin tournament that will feature several top teams, including Andale, Andover Central, Goddard Eisenhower and the host Railers.
The MHS JVs also were 1-1 on the night, defeating Augusta (25-18, 25-13) and losing to Rose Hill (20-25, 21-25).
The girls did great,” MHS JV coach Cara Hollingsworth said. “They gave a good fight against Rose Hill and played well against Augusta. We are constantly improving and working on our skills throughout the season.”