Pittsburg swept Columbus (25-10, 25-13), Fort Scott (25-20, 25-10) and Girard (25-4, 25-19) in the season-opening high school volleyball quadrangular Saturday morning at Pittsburg High School.

Pittsburg swept Columbus (25-10, 25-13), Fort Scott (25-20, 25-10) and Girard (25-4, 25-19) in the season-opening high school volleyball quadrangular Saturday morning at Pittsburg High School.

The Purple Dragons struggled early on last year and then built up speed during league play, completing an undefeated run through official league matches (8-0) and finishing its season 17-17 overall with a substate loss to Class 5A state champion Bishop Miege (38-4 overall last year).

“It's way better being 3-0 than 0-3,” Pittsburg head volleyball coach Mary Packard said. “It makes the next three days of practice better.

“Even though it's the same girls, it's a different team because they're more mature, more confident and they know they can win as we finally did the second half of last year.”

During its first set of a match against Girard, Pittsburg showed occasional dominance.

Early in the set, Girard senior Jordan Davied tied it up at 1 with a kill, then gave Pittsburg a sideout when her serve went into the net.

In order, Andie Casper served three straight aces, Skyler Muff and Lizzy Willis combined for a block and kill, Muff spiked another kill and Casper served her fourth ace of the run to give Pittsburg a 8-1 advantage.

Later in the set, Alaura Short ran off three straight aces to give Pittsburg a 19-3 lead and fittingly, Willis closed out the set with an ace.

“We did a pretty good job on serving, until the very last game,” Packard said. “We had too many serves into the net. But, at times, we served really strong and had some long runs.”

In the second set, Pittsburg hit three serves into the net, one wide and one long for a total of five lost point opportunities. Girard capitalized on the miscues and took a 13-9 lead near the middle of the set. Over a four-point stretch, Davied had two kills and sophomore Audrey Bauer served two aces.

However, after that 13-9 Girard lead, Muff took over with three straight momentum-shifting kills and Morgan Rhue tied up Girard at 13 with a kill. Davied then missed wide on a finesse shot to give Pittsburg back the lead and Mercedes Vogel extended it with back-to-back aces. Olathe South transfer Rheid Tridle contributed three kills and Muff finished the match with her seventh kill of the second set.

“We have goals, like every hitter needs to get a kill,” Packard said. “It's just one of the match goals so we know that we're spreading things around. I think we did a good job of that today.”

Pittsburg utilized almost its entire 12-player varsity roster Saturday and every player contributed something positive.

“I've tried to instill in them that though we have Skyler and everybody's looking for Skyler, if they're doubled on her that means somebody else is going to be open,” Packard said. “If you can take pressure off of her and if you become a hitter, then they're going have to guard you, which frees up Skyler. It's a big circle.”

Pittsburg fended off Fort Scott in a tight first set and went on to win in two sets against an opponent which always gives the Purple Dragons trouble.

“Last year, we went up to Fort Scott and we didn't win a match,” Packard said. “That was very disheartening.”

Girard started its season 1-2, losing in two close sets to Fort Scott (26-28, 23-25) and winning in two sets over Columbus (25-16, 25-15).

None of the six matches reached a third set.

Saturday’s matches between Pittsburg, Columbus and Fort Scott were all non-Southeast Kansas League matches and later in the season (Oct. 6), Pittsburg will host Columbus and Fort Scott in an official league triangular.

Pittsburg quadrangular results
Pittsburg def. Columbus 25-10, 25-13
Fort Scott def. Girard 28-26, 25-23
Pittsburg def. Fort Scott 25-20, 25-10
Girard def. Columbus 25-16, 25-15
Pittsburg def. Girard 25-4, 25-19
Fort Scott def. Columbus 25-22, 25-21

Overall records
Pittsburg 3-0
Fort Scott 2-1
Girard 1-2
Columbus 0-3