Lady Bulldogs fall in semis

Posted 11/17/20

The North Zulch volleyball team fell to Miller Grove in straight sets in the Regional Semifinals in Ennis Nov. 10 to conclude their season and the careers of their senior-heavy class. The Lady Bulldogs had previously defeated Oakwood and Apple Springs to advance in the postseason.

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Lady Bulldogs fall in semis

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The North Zulch volleyball team fell to Miller Grove in straight sets in the Regional Semifinals in Ennis Nov. 10 to conclude their season and the careers of their senior-heavy class. The Lady Bulldogs had previously defeated Oakwood and Apple Springs to advance in the postseason.

“We just came out slow and making mistakes we hadn't really made all year (against Miller Grove),” said head coach Melissa Padgett. “We didn't really look like a unit, we just looked off. It wasn't the team that took the floor against Oakwood.”

The Lady Bulldogs dropped straight sets in Ennis by scores of 15-25, 14-25 and 15-25. They competed without the services of senior leader Cheyanne Wallin, who suffered an injury in the team’s Regional Quarterfinal victory over Oakwood Nov. 5.

“We practiced without (Wallin) and I thought the girls would really step up without her,” said Padgett. “As vital as she is to our team, we didn't have to have her in order to beat (Miller Grove), but we’ve been working on a team chemistry with certain rotations all year. Sometimes an injury is hard to overcome mentally and I don’t think we took the court prepared to play them.”

Despite the loss, North Zulch advanced to the Regional Quarterfinals their first season as a 1A program after missing the postseason entirely last year. Despite their 1A placement, they competed in a predominately 2A district in 2020.

“This team kind of paved the way for us to be successful in the future,” said Padgett. “Once you cultivate that winning culture and your upcoming kids see the success of a team like that, they strive to do that year in and year out. I want to build a championship program here and I think, with the kids we have coming up, we have an opportunity to do that.”

North Zulch seniors players in 2020 included Madison Murphy, Jordan Barrington, Cheyanne Wallin, Dannicka Diserens, Tessah Haggard, Trinitty Wallace, Paige McWilliams-Leggett and Katelyn Crocker.

A win over Miller Grove would have stationed the Lady Bulldogs to play against Neches, the top 1A program in the state, in the Regional Finals.

“They are devastated,” said Padgett on her seniors and team as a whole after the loss. “We knew that (Neches) would be the team to beat in the state and that we had the potential to get there. The girls were devastated that they didn't have the opportunity to battle it out with that number one team to see how they stood up against them as a team and program.

“They are also very proud of the season that they had. They should be proud that they went from not making the playoffs at all to a regional tournament appearance.”

Neches defeated Miller Grove in straight sets in the Regional Finals last week to advance to the state tournament against D’Hanis.

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