NZ splits district openers

Posted 9/15/20

The North Zulch volleyball team split their first two district matchups with a road victory in Normangee Sept. 8 and a home loss to top-ranked Iola Friday. Since the Lady Bulldogs are on of two 1A teams in a predominately 2A district, they will qualify for the postseason regardless of their district record.

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

E-mail
Password
Log in

NZ splits district openers

Posted

The North Zulch volleyball team split their first two district matchups with a road victory in Normangee Sept. 8 and a home loss to top-ranked Iola Friday. Since the Lady Bulldogs are on of two 1A teams in a predominately 2A district, they will qualify for the postseason regardless of their district record.

“We did not start off well (in Normangee),” said head coach Melissa Padgett. “I am not one hundred percent sure why that was, because I know they were really excited for district play to start. I called a timeout in the first set and I kind of had a little fit and told the girls if they don’t want to at least take the competition and play to our potential, then these 2A teams will not make us any better.”

The Lady Bulldogs ultimately took the message to heart and won the contest by scores of 20-25, 25-23, 16-25, 30-28 and 15-9. Normangee controlled the third set and appeared to be well on their way to victory before North Zulch pulled out a thrilling victory in the fourth match.

“We really got into the mindset that the game would be over if we didn't win this set,” said Padgett. “It just went back-and-forth. I still feel like we did not play consistently. We did some good things and our defense did well but we did not play consistent the whole match.”

Padgett, who confessed she is stingy with the phrase “good game”, only delivers it when she feels her team has played consistently solid from start the beginning of the match until the end. While the team was up-and-down throughout the match in Normangee, they put it all together in the fifth and deciding set.

“In the fifth set, they played good from the beginning of the set to the end,” said Padgett on the 15-9 win. “I want the whole match to be that way, I don’t like to see that roller coaster of emotions where one mistake can cost us the next two or three points. That is something that has been a bad habit for us.”

The win set the Lady Bulldogs off on the right foot in district play despite a height disadvantage and a solid, 2A opponent. Their next matchup against top-ranked Iola would not end with the same vindication.

North Zulch fell to Iola at home Friday by scores of 10-25, 11-25 and 12-25.

“(Iola) just does not make mistakes,” said Padgett. “They are well-trained, they are consistent, they are not super up-and-down with their level of play. In the first set, we picked up everything they hit at us but could never do anything with it.”

After making some personnel changes in the third set, the Lady Bulldogs were seemingly in a position to fight for the victory before four straight communication errors and a pair of missed serves gave the advantage back to Iola.

“You cannot give Iola points,” said Padgett. “That sucked the wind out of our sails. They are a very good team and I understand why they are number one in the 1A and 2A polls. It is not because they are doing anything spectacular, they are just consistent and solid. That is hard to beat.”

The Lady Bulldogs looked to bounce back Tuesday with a road matchup in Leon, Padgett’s alma mater. She is related to a member of the team and competed in three state championships at the school during her playing days, winning one as a freshman.

“(Leon) lost a big senior class last year, but that is never a reason to doubt them,” said Padgett before Tuesday’s matchup. “Based on some scores and other information, I know that they have struggled. So i would like to take advantage of the fact that they are making more mistakes than they normally make.”

The Lady Bulldogs will return home Friday to host Calvert at NZHS at 4 p.m.

Comments