NZ splits district matchups

Posted 10/6/20

The North Zulch volleyball team split a pair of district matchups over the week with a win over Hearne in straight sets Sept. 29 and a loss to Normangee in five sets Friday. The Lady Bulldogs, who will be playoff-bound in 1A regardless of their district record, were 4-4 entering Tuesday’s matchup against undefeated Iola.

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NZ splits district matchups

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The North Zulch volleyball team split a pair of district matchups over the week with a win over Hearne in straight sets Sept. 29 and a loss to Normangee in five sets Friday. The Lady Bulldogs, who will be playoff-bound in 1A regardless of their district record, were 4-4 entering Tuesday’s matchup against undefeated Iola.

“We really didn't play bad against Normangee,” said North Zulch head coach Melissa Padgett. “I thought it was decent. I wish we would have played more constantly throughout the match. When we were up and doing well we were really doing well.”

The Lady Bulldogs dropped Friday’s match against Normangee by scores of 25-23, 21-25, 21-25, 25-16 and 8-15. The two teams went head-to-head in the district opener Sept. 8, which North Zulch won in five sets.

“We started out really down (in the fifth set) and you cannot do that,” said Padgett. “I am not upset about the level of play. Anytime we meet Normangee in anything, it doesn't what season or sport, it is going to be a good game.”

On Sept. 29, the Lady Bulldogs defeated Hearne on the road by scores of 25-13, 25-13 and 25-13.

“(Hearne) is not set up in any kind of rotation,” said Padgett. “It is very unorthodox and they send over a lot of wild and crazy stuff. You never know what you are going to get and it does help you focus on being ready and not getting sucked into the play because you cannot guess what is about to happen, you have to just be ready.”

The Lady Bulldogs get another chance to expose themselves to top competition this week with district matchups against Iola and Leon. The team is currently a 1A program competing in a primarily 2A district and will qualify for the 1A postseason regardless of their final league record. They will also have a bye in the Bi-District round and advance straight to Area once district play concludes.

North Zulch battled Iola Tuesday and will host Leon at NZHS Friday.

“We need to put a block up on the right side to try and slow down the big offensive guns that Iola has,” said Padgett before Tuesday’s matchup. “We are going to move our outside hitters to the right side and see how it goes, because they are our bigger hitters. Anytime you are looking at Iola, you are looking at a very consistent team that does not make mistakes, so that will be a factor.”

Padgett spoke on the magnitude a victory over one of the top teams in district would mean for the Lady Bulldogs as they inch closer and closer to the 1A postseason.

“This team does not know what they are capable of, physically or mentally,” said Padgett. "If we could take down an Iola or Leon, I think it could just open the eyes of the team and let them know what they really could do.”

The team enters the second half of district play in good health physically as well as mentally after spending much of last week bettering their relationships and chemistry off the court.

“I could see the growth (against Normangee),” said Padgett. “I could see that we were trying to have more chemistry and work more cohesively.”

After Friday’s matchup against Iola, the Lady Bulldogs will conclude their district slate with matchups against Calvert, Centerville, Mumford and Hearne.

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