By William for


NEWTON – It was a tale of two matches for both the McPherson Middle School seventh grade ‘A’ and ‘B’ volleyball teams as they traveled to Newton on Monday and both lost heartbreaking three set matches to Hutchinson before both bouncing back and sweeping Newton in straight sets.

In the ‘A’ team matches for the Lady Junior Pup spikers, they lost their opening set to Hutchinson (23-25), then bounced back to score a second set (25-21) win before losing a hard-fought extra point (17-19) third set and match.

“I was incredibly proud of how well the girls played tonight against Hutchinson,” noted seventh-grade Lady Junior Pup Head Coach Shelley Bohme. “All three sets were tight and both teams battled. There some great rallies and all-around good volleyball played. Hutchinson tipped the ball a lot and we adjusted and covered well; we just made more mistakes than they did. After dropping set one, we jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in set two with strong serving by Kelby Boughfman. I was pleased with how often we were able to set the ball up and finish it out to force a third set. Set three was fun to watch as it was close the whole way, with neither team getting up by more than a few points. We had some amazing hustle plays and the girls never gave up. Cora Pavlovich was great defensively as she had some amazing digs and did a nice job of passing the ball up. Addie Herrera and Haley Hagemann were outstanding at the net tonight with each attacking the ball well and getting their first blocks of the season. Addison Chapman and Kelby did a great job setting and feeding them the ball while Josie Fitzmorris was also solid at the net. On the back row, Izabel Backhus and Kenzi Kaufman came in and passed the ball really well, getting it up to our setters. Our serving was another bright spot tonight as we served 95% as a team, only missing three serves in that match. Ultimately, we had a few unforced errors that cost us. It was a tough loss.”

When the Lady Junior Pups went up against Newton in their second match, they dominated, winning in straight sets (25-11, 25-13). The ‘A’ team is now 13-3 for the season.

Talking about the Newton match, Coach Bohme concluded her reflections on the day by saying, “Kelby (Boughfman) started us off by serving 12 straight points in set one against Newton, then fatigue set in and it took us longer to finish out the set than it probably should have. We got some energy back in set two as Haley (Hageman) was productive at the net with some nice sets from Addison (Chapman), whose net play continues to improve. We missed more serves against Newton, so we need to work on focusing more on our serves when we are tired.”

As for the ‘B’ team matches, the opening match loss to Hutchinson ended the Lady Junior Pups 18 match unbeaten streak.

In the match with Hutchinson the girls lost set one (22-25) before coming back to dominate in set two (25-10) and then battling to extra points in set three before losing the set and the match (16-18).

After the sting of the first loss of the season, the Lady Junior Pups roared back to dismantle host Newton in the second match of the day by winning (25-13, 25-3) in straight sets, giving them a season mark now of 19-1.

“Our first game against Hutchinson was a tough start to our night,” said ‘B’ team coach Abby Bradstreet. “We fought hard but were too inconsistent in our passing and came up short. It was a hard first loss of the season for us, but we learned a lot from it and came back to win against Newton. We were able to set the ball up and be more aggressive at the net than what we were against Hutchinson. We need to tweak a few things in practice and will be ready to go for our home matches next Monday.”

Next action for the seventh-grade volleyball teams will be on Tuesday, October 1 when they play host to a Quad with Newton-Chisholm, Concordia and Salina Lakewood.

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