NZ finishes third in Gary


The North Zulch Lady Bulldogs volleyball team dropped their season opener to Teague in straight sets last Tuesday before posting a 5-1 record in a tournament at Gary ISD.

“The Gary Tournament was huge for us,” said head coach Melissa Padgett, who is in her first season at the helm in North Zulch. “There was a competitive level of play for us and the team we fell to was hands down more fundamentally sound and featured two middle hitters that were comparable to some of those we will see in district play.”

The Lady Bulldogs picked up victories over Union Grove (25-21, 25-17), Gary (20-25, 25-19, 25-14), Garrison (25-14, 25-11), Garrison (25-4, 25-16) and Overton (25-18, 25-16).

The win against Overton came in the third place game after the Lady Bulldogs fell to Harmony (10-25, 15-25). Harmony would go on to win the tournament.

“We were solid in our play and consistent all weekend,” said Padgett. “They were clearly trying to implement skills during the game that we worked on in previous practices. But overall, our out-of-system play improved leaps and bounds. We are being intentional every time we touched the ball instead of just trying to get it over.”

Padgett believes that the tournament’s exposure will help the Lady Bulldogs prepare for district opponents like Leon, Iola and Centerville down the stretch of the season.

In their season opener last Tuesday, North Zulch dropped a contest to Teague in straight sets by scores of 24-26, 17-25 and 23-25.

Padgett is the program’s third head coach in three seasons and has implemented a number of changes to the system. Early on, she is pleased with the results she has seen from her players.

“Ana Osth showed great consistency statistically all weekend and our defense, led by libero Katelyn Crocker, was very solid,” said Padgett. “I have changed everything about our team and system, but they are showing growth and adjusting well.”

The North Zulch Lady Bulldogs traveled to St. Joseph High School on Tuesday and will host Hempstead on Friday at 5 p.m.