Tuesday, August 07, 2012

SPORTS STORY >> NP shows growth at team camp

Leader sports editor

The North Pulaski volleyball team returns a lot of key players from last year’s squad that barely missed out on the class 5A state playoffs. The team has been practicing since July and has taken part in two team camps this month. Last week the Lady Falcons went to Rogers-Heritage, and are competing in a camp at Vilonia this week.

The early start has been good for many of the less experienced players, and has highlighted improvements made by some of the returning players.

“Shelby Floyd, our main hitter, played well up in Rogers,” Belton said. “Emily Long, our setter, played extremely well. My ninth-graders I took up there proved they deserve to be playing varsity. As a whole I thought we played well. We made some mistakes but not as many as we did at times last year. Overall I think we’re ahead of where were at this same time a year ago.”

North Pulaski played tough competition at Heritage. They didn’t win, but held their own and were competitive against 7A West teams like Springdale Har-Ber and Rogers Heritage. Other games weren’t as good.
“It was strange because we competed with those big schools pretty well I thought,” Belton said. “But then we played Prairie Grove and they beat us like we stole something from them. We were very inconsistent, especially on the back row. I was disappointed in how we received the ball and played defense.”

Belton thinks he knows why the back row was a weak point at the Fayetteville camp.

“We’ve had trouble getting everybody all together at practice, and a lot of it is our back row players,” Belton said. “I’m disappointed in some of our returners right now. We have some players that started last year that haven’t come to practice regularly, and it shows when they do. The play is inconsistent. We may have a situation where some ninth-graders will fill some roles some other people thought were their’s just because they were their’s last year.”

Kierra Evans and Raigen Thomas are the two freshmen that figure into the mix for varsity. Megan Shurginov has also played her way into the starting rotation. Nebreigh Thomas is a returning starter. Ashley Van Horn will be the team’s libero. Shayla Evans and Brianna Lyons are also key players for this year’s squad.

The team will also sport a new look for the first time in many years. It took some doing, but the Lady Falcons got new jersey’s for the upcoming season.

“That’s thanks in large part to Mr. Sinn,” Belton said of the NPHS principal. “That’s something we’ve been needing and he got that done for us.”

The Lady Falcons will put their new team and uniforms on display for the first time on Aug. 20 when they open the season at Greenbrier.