The McPherson College volleyball team didn’t have any four game winning streaks last season. Partly because the Bulldogs only won seven games out of a 32 game schedule.
Wednesday night in front of a rowdy McPherson College crowd, the Bulldogs saw their four game winning streak snapped at the hands of Kansas Wesleyan, 18-25, 24-26, 25-20, 20-25.
The Bulldogs are now 13-7, 6-5 in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference, and dropped to fifth place in the KCAC.
All four sets would be a battle, which was evident early on. The Bulldogs and Coyotes found themselves tied at six in the first set, before three straight points went the visiting team’s way to create some separation.
The Bulldogs battled back, getting within, before KWU scored the next five points to increase their advantage to 19-14. McPherson never got closer than five, eventually dropping the first set.
Credit to the Bulldogs as they never lost intensity the entire match. Playing from a set behind, McPherson raced out to an 11-5 lead, before KWU was forced to use a timeout. Freshman Kaitlyn Heinis had two of her team high five aces during that span.
Kansas Wesleyan cleaned up their mistakes during the timeout, and quickly began to cut into the McPherson lead.
The Bulldogs called timeout, while leading 16-13 to try and calm the Kansas Wesleyan momentum. It didn’t work, however, as the Coyotes took their first lead of the set at 22-21. It was tied at 23 all with Heinis serving, but Kansas Wesleyan closed out the set from there; something the Bulldogs struggled to do.
Facing elimination, the Bulldogs once again took an early lead. The third set got off to a similar start as the previous set, but this time with a different result.
Tied at 17, the Bulldogs won eight of the next 10 points to force a fourth set. McPherson saw a 6-1 early lead erased, and played the Coyotes neck-and-neck the rest of the way.
But Kansas Wesleyan, who is now 9-2 in KCAC play, took an early lead in the fourth set, and never let up the rest of the match. The Bulldogs hung around, never trailing by more than five points, but failed to ignite any momentum in the final set.
“Kansas Wesleyan is a strong, scrappy and balanced team,” Head Coach Jessica Cleveland said. “We stepped up to the challenge, but just got out played. The girls never gave up, and they worked for every point.”
Sophomore Lexi Kite had a team high 13 kills, while senior Jessica Sanders had 12. Sanders also led the team with two blocks.
Heinis and junior Morgan Little had a combined 41 assists, and senior Emily Warner had a team high 17 digs.
The Bulldogs will look to start a new winning streak on Saturday, when they travel to winless Bethel.
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