EL DORADO, Kan. – Despite a strong opening set of their first match, El Dorado dropped both games of a home triangular with Buhler and McPherson.
The Wildcats fell to 14-13 after tonight’s matches.
In the opening game of the triangular, Buhler came from behind to defeat El Dorado 2-1 (24-26, 25-19, 25-23).
Buhler took control early in set one, taking a 5-0 set lead. After the early lead, the teams exchanged points a couple at a time as the Wildcats clawed back into the game.
Two late points game El Dorado a 23-21 lead, causing a Buhler timeout.
The Crusaders chipped at the lead, narrowing the game to 24-23 as El Dorado called a timeout.
After exchanging points, Buhler called another timeout after El Dorado took a 25-24 lead.
A final point gave the Wildcats a 26-24 first set win.
Buhler controlled the second set after taking a 5-1 lead early. The Crusaders rode two four-point stints to a 25-19 set win, tying the match at 1-1.
The third set was one of strong runs. While El Dorado earned single points at a time, Buhler put together two and three points together at a time. A six-point rally gave Buhler a 14-6 lead, forcing El Dorado to call a timeout.
After an exchange of points, the Wildcats went on a seven-point run to bring the game to 17-15.
Buhler chipped off single points at a time to win the final set 25-23, winning the match 2-1.
In game two for El Dorado, the Wildcats were defeated by McPherson, 2-1 (25-23, 23-25, 25-14).
The Bullpups put together a five-point rally to go up 9-4, a lead they would not give up the remainder of the set.
For the remainder of the set, the teams exchanged single to pairs of points back and forth until McPherson edged out El Dorado in the end, 25-23.
El Dorado took the driver’s seat in set two, jumping out to a 5-2 lead.
Throughout the second set, McPherson struggled to put together points in bunches, as 11 of their 23 second set points came out of rallies.
Despite trailing, the Bullpups put together a strong late push to close the gap after trailing 23-17.
The Wildcats took set two, 25-23, evening the match at one set a piece.
In the final set, it was all Bullpups from the start. After scoring the first four points, McPherson powered to a 13-3 lead, forcing an El Dorado timeout.
The Wildcats put a good push together in the remainder of the third, but the deficit was too great to overcome as McPherson dominated in a 25-14 third set win, winning the match 2-1.
“We did a good job of adjusting out defense,” Head Coach Alyssa Rawlings said. “We talked a lot about adjusting to all of McPherson’s different hitters.”
While the result was not ideal for El Dorado, Rawlings was happy with the product the Wildcats put out.
“They were both good matches,” Rawlings said “I’m not super happy with the final set but they were both hard fought matches.”
El Dorado returns to the court in the El Dorado tournament on Saturday at El Dorado HS. They'll get a chance to beat Augusta, Buhler, Chanute, Valley Center and Wichita Collegiate. That starts at 9 a.m.