SPRING HILL — McPherson High’s inaugural voyage to the Spring Hill Volleyball Invitational was a successful one.
The Bullpups dropped only one set in five matches Saturday to capture the championship. They are now 23-4 on the season and every win matters in terms of seeding if the team qualifies for state.
MHS knocked off Kansas City Piper (25-18, 25-22), Spring Hill (25-19, 25-21), Blue Valley Southwest (25-19, 29-27), Paola (26-24, 24-26, 27-25) and Kansas City Turner (25-5, 25-13).
"We were a bit off part of the day, but good enough to win," MHS coach Christy Doile said. "Big battle with Blue Valley Southwest. I preach in the crazy matches, 'Don't look at the score, just give best effort.' I don't look at the score and we are big on "next ball." So my summary of the match gets a bit lost in 'next ball.'"
The kills were well distributed with Elle Barrett (49), Andrea Sweat (38) and Cassie Cooks (29) all taking turns with big swings. They were set up by Jaycee Burghart, who had a phenomenal 111 assists.
There was quality serving from Michaela Bowers (6 aces), Cooks (5) and Burghart (4).
Sweat and Cooks led in blocks and 7 and 5, respectively. Bailea Crist led in digs with 33, followed by Barrett (28) and Bowers (27).
"Micky Bowers received amazingly well this weekend. She put up receive numbers that very few Bullpups have ever done," Doile said. "We had a steady attack from Elle Barrett, Cassie Cooks and Andrea Sweat. Jaycee Burghart helped lead our team by dishing out the most effective offensive plan."
Doile said her team had a chance to enjoy the total experience. It went up on Friday and took in the nationally ranked Kansas Jayhawks' practice prior to their match with TCU.
"(KU) Coach (Ray) Bechard met with our team and gave them a message about being selfless teammates and that team can beat talent," Doile said.
She said the Bullpups applied what they learned from Bechard in the wins over Blue Valley Southwest and Paola, two of the best the team has had this year.
"It was a mental battle for us," she said. "We got two big wins. I'm so thankful for girls that are coachable, selflessness and are putting their team first."
She added the Spring Hill facilities were among the best the Bullpups have enjoyed. They have competed in the Ottawa tournament in recent years, but totally enjoyed what the Spring Hill tournament offered.
It’s a busy week for the Bullpups as they go to Circle on Tuesday for a triangular, then host the annual McPherson Invitational on Saturday.