For the first time since 2009, the McPherson High volleyball season won’t end at the state tournament, be it in Salina or Topeka.
The Bullpups were ousted by Ulysses on Saturday in the sub-state finals on the Tigers’ home court, snapping a state appearance run at seven.
MHS coach Christy Doile reflected on what her team accomplished this season with pride.
“To my outgoing seniors, my heart just breaks for them,” Doile said. “I told the team in the locker room my job as the head coach is to try and make the team feel better. I wanted them and the team to know that I wasn't upset with them. We were all hurting and it is such a tough life lesson. We had such a great journey this season, going 35-6 and we made really great memories along they way.”
Doile said one match does not define the season.
“We did our best to appreciate our accomplishments along the way,” she said. “This timely loss doesn't take away all the great things we accomplished together. It hurts because we did prepare, the kids in the locker room are good kids, they’re coachable and they truly care for one another. We came up against a talented, winning Ulysses team on their home court. Against a good team, you've got to be more on than them. They were able to score more points on us than we could on them on this given day. In this program we do have high expectations to reach the state tournament and this is why this stings. It also tells us you care and you know the expectations. Not all programs or players have that same expectation and it doesn't hurt as bad. I told the seniors and the team to take this life lesson and learn from it. Use this experience, to make it better for the next sub-state or regional you compete in.”
The Bullpups graduate four seniors — Elle Barrett, Bailea Crist, Kenzie Goering and Mandi Cooks, who was out all year with an injury after being a longtime impact player.
“All of them were two-year starters and Cooks would of been a three-year starter,” Doile said. “They have been a huge part of our success. They have all put in extra hours, days, weeks to be better volleyball players to help this program. They should be very proud of all their accomplishments, even if it didn't end as they had hoped. The season-ending loss doesn't take away everything they have done for the program.”