By Staff

            NEWTON – On Saturday, the McPherson Middle School eighth-grade volleyball team traveled to Newton for the season ending Wichita Suburban League Tournament and won three of four matches to bring home a league title.

            “Our eighth grade ‘A’ team ended their season on a high note with a couple of really strong wins at our WSL (Wichita Suburban League) tournament,” noted head coach Christine Pianalto. “The Junior Lady Pups took first place and brought home some hardware as league champs.”

            With the tournament results the eighth-grade team finished their 2022 season with a glistening 20-5-1 record.

            In the first match of the day at the tournament the Junior Lady Pups struggled and lost 17-25 to Hutchinson in the first set before powering back to get a 25-17 victory in the second set only to stumble again in the third set and lose 9-15 for a first match loss.

            According to coach Pianalto, “We struggled with passing early during our first match with Hutchinson though Carmin Pavlovich brought some heat at the net by recording nine kills during the match.”

            Coming on strong in the second match, McPherson humbled Salina Lakewood with a straight set 25-15, 25-12, win.

            It was a blowout win for the Junior Lady Pups in the first set of their third match when they hammered Salina South 25-9 before finishing out the match victory by winning a close, two-point, 25-23 second set.

            In her post-tournament reflections, coach Pianalto talked about the matches with both Salina teams by saying, “Against Salina Lakewood and Salina South, our team came together with strong passing from Pera Bauer and Marah Kaufman, while Kynedi Huggard played well at the net.”

            Going up against host Newton Chisholm in the final match of the day, McPherson came together as a team and powered to a straight set win (25-14, 25-17) where they did not allow the home team to get close, giving the Junior Lady Pups the win and the league championship.

            Passing out praises to more of her players, coach Pianalto added, “Jaela Thompson had a great day, recording at least five kills in each of the final three matches while Brynn Littlejohn served well for the Junior Lady Pups in our last few games and recorded a couple of kills in the final match with Newton. As always, Piper Alvord dominated at the serving line, and brought much needed energy to our team today. Rylie Whitfield rounded out a strong and consistent season as our setter, continually putting the ball on the net for each hitter to attack.”

            Pianalto concluded her reflections on the tournament and season with a brief note, saying, “I am so very proud of the way the girls fought through their games today and this season to come together for this league win!”

(The Staff covering McPherson County Activities can be reached by email at