Circle splits home triangular

Peter Holland Jr.
Circle's Lacy Beougher goes in for the spike against McPherson on Tuesday, Sept. 8 at Circle High School. The Lady T-Birds split the triangular 1-1.

TOWANDA— On Tuesday evening, the Circle High School volleyball team did something that they haven't done in five years. That is forcing a game three against their league foe McPherson High School.

Yet, in the end, the Bullpups left victorious against both the T-Birds, 25-16, 23-25, 25-20, and Winfield High School, 25-10, 25-16. Circle suffered its first lost on the year but bounced back by sweeping Winfield, 25-12, 25-17 to finish the night with a split in its home triangular.

Game one was a quite treat in the AVCTL Division III league as both Circle and McPherson put their winning streaks on the line. Unlike Circle, the Bullpups have been challenged against superior teams, leaving McPherson with the advantage. However, Head Coach Shelly Nibarger was impressed by her team's performance and being able to force a game three over the Lady Pups.

"I was super proud against McPherson I told the girls that we competed," Nibarger said. "Our goal before that match was compete. We knew they were undefeated and ranked in Class 5A and to go three.“

“So, that was a whole lot of fun. We like to play teams like McPherson every night out, and that's going to make us better, so we improved throughout the course of that match. "

The Bullpups went off to a strong start in set one as they continue to show their dominance with a 25-16 win. The Lady T-Birds wouldn't be denied as they recovered its first lead of the night 19-18, and eventually took game two, 25-23.

In set three, despite McPherson ad the lead for most of the period, the T-Birds were not too far off. The match came close as three points, but McPherson edged the T-Birds out 25-20.

"I thought we were fine in set one, moving into positive direction in set two," McPherson's head coach Christy Doile said. "We were up and winning but then I feel we led up. We did get stuck in the rotation. We had that same rotation all season. the reason why we've been those close sets, 25-23, and other highly competitive sets was because we were highly competitive with a mix-ball mentality and we're responding in the correct way."

After dominating set one against the Vikings, Winfield got to a fast start with a 4-0 lead, but it didn't take too long as McPherson would answer back with a 4-0 run, evening the score, and then and then 9-1 run to capture its first lead. Winfield led as close three points, but McPherson would get its largest lead of the night at 19-11 and would sweep the Vikings.

The Vikings hopped on to game three against the T-Birds while the T-Birds had plenty of time to recuperate and put on a clinic against Winfield. The T-Birds got to a dominating start in set 3, beating the Vikings 25-12. In set two, the Vikings finally turned it on capturing its first lead early at 7-3. Winfield led as high as 11-4 until the T-Birds rallied back with a six straight points and only trailed 16-13. Circle eventually tied the game at 16 and captured the lead at 18-17, then followed up with 7-0 run to sweep the Vikings. Winfield would leave Circle winless, but received high praise by Nibarger for its max efforts.

"I told Coach (Aubree) Vargas that she has made great strides with her program," Nibarger said. "Winfield used to been noncompetitive before she arrived and she's taking them just a step every year she has coached. So, they are super scrappy."

Circle is now 3-1 on the season and will compete in the Southeast of Saline tournament on Saturday. McPherson, now 8-0. Next Tuesday, McPherson will host a triangular against Augusta High School and Rose Hill High School.

McPherson def. Circle (25-16, 23-25, 25-20)

Circle def. Winfield (25-12, 25-17)