AUGUSTA – The AVCTL-III volleyball season continued on Tuesday for the host Augusta Orioles as they took on fellow county rival, the El Dorado Wildcats as well as the McPherson Bullpups at Hutter Gymnasium.
The talented McPherson team stole the show with a pair of victories over the Orioles and Wildcats, and then Augusta defeated El Dorado for the third time in three meetings this season.
McPherson 2, Augusta 0
It was nearly impossible for the Orioles to find any offense early on against the Lady Bullpups. McPherson controlled all of the action early, jumping to a 15-5 lead. At that point, all of the Orioles’ points had come on Bullpup miscues. They did not pick up a kill until the next point that made it 15-6. The teams traded points for a stretch, but McPherson had no trouble finishing off the first set, taking it 25-12.
"Everything (McPherson) hit was in play, it was tough to dig," Augusta head coach Brian Hallmark said. "I don’t think we played that bad, they just played that well.
It was a different looking Augusta team in the second set. McPherson led 5-2, and then the Orioles came alive with an 8-0 run, forcing Mac to take a timeout.
Augusta built the lead to 14-7, and then the Bullpups began their comeback. They got the match knotted at 22-22, and then after each side scored a point to level matters again, McPherson stepped up and got the final two points to win the set 25-23 and claim a 2-0 match victory.
McPherson 2, El Dorado 0
While Augusta was able to threaten McPherson in one set, the Bullpups never gave the Wildcats any glimpse of hope. In the opening set, Mac scored the first ten points and did not relent, taking the set 25-8.
El Dorado did step up to play a more competitive second set. They were as close as 11-8 before McPherson hit them with another run, cruising to a 25-15 win and getting the two-set sweep. It was simply a matter of the Bullpups being able to set up their offense to get kills while El Dorado was fighting just to dig and keep points alive.
Augusta 2, El Dorado 0
As expected, this match was competitive. But the Orioles made runs late in both sets to claim a two-set victory.
In the opening set, El Dorado scored the first two points before Augusta hit them with a 9-0 run. The Lady Cats would chip away and get within a point at 17-16. The Lady Orioles though would not surrender their lead, scoring eight of the final 12 points to claim the set 25-20. Augusta junior Trinity McMichael provided the kill that closed out the opening set.
El Dorado’s best run of play came early in the second set as they led 7-2. But Augusta would shake that off using the serving of junior Sydney Scott and come back to take the lead at 9-8. The advantage would go back and forth until the set was level at 16-16.
The Orioles used a mix of good offensive play and Wildcat miscues to score seven straight points and lead 23-16. To El Dorado’s credit, they did not give in. They got great effort from senior libero Jamison McCaig, who kept several balls alive and helped the Wildcats draw close at 23-20. But Augusta would finish the job to win 25-20 and earning their third win the season over El Dorado. The first came at the season-opening Winfield tournament, while the last two have come in AVCTL-III play.
Hallmark acknowledged that while his team has gotten the number of their county rival multiple times this season, none of it has been easy.
"El Dorado, they are so scrappy and they keep the ball in play," Hallmark said. "A scrappy team like that usually frustrates hitters because they think they’re going to hit it and put it away quick. We just have to learn to be more disciplined, a little more relaxed."
Both Augusta and El Dorado will play this coming Saturday at the Douglass Tournament. Bluestem will also be there along with Garden Plain, Hillsboro, Mulvane and Winfield.