Tuesday, September 22, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Lady Falcons roll through Jacksonville

Leader sports editor

The North Pulaski volleyball team successfully conquered its second big rival of the week last Thursday when it defeated Jacksonville 3-0 at the Falcons’ Nest. Thursday’s win followed a 3-1 victory over Sylvan Hills on Tuesday, and put the Lady Falcons in position to play for a share of the lead in the 5A-Central Conference tomorrow.

“First time through the conference is almost finished,” said North Pulaski coach Ben Belton. “We’re 5-1 going into Beebe, and I don’t think that’s ever been done here. We’re not supposed to beat Beebe, but we’re going to give it everything we got.”

Jacksonville continues to show improvement despite failing to beat any of the league’s top tier teams. Scores in Thursday’s match showed how competitive the Lady Red Devils have become. The Lady Falcons won each game by scores of 25-17, 25-21 and 25-20.

Game one was nip and tuck until North Pulaski’s ? Brown took serve with her team leading 6-4. Brown served back-to-back aces before teammate Kelsie McQueen got a back row kill, forcing Jacksonville coach Whitney Abdullah to call a timeout. After the break, Brown served another ace. Brown kept serving all the way to 13-4 before finally serving long.

“She’s one of the two I’ve got who can put a serve wherever I tell her to put it,” Belton said of Brown.

Jacksonville stayed within two of North Pulaski for most of the second game. The score was 16-14 when Kayla Reardon scored two points on serve for NP, and the two teams traded side outs the rest of the way.

Jacksonville led 15-13 in game three before Brown’s service game gave control back to the Lady Falcons. She took serve at 15-13, and served six-consecutive points, including four more aces to put NP up 19-16. She again served long on a sky serve to make it 19-17.

The two teams traded service breaks the rest of the way. Jacksonville’s final point came on a huge kill by Rebecca Brown that made it 22-20. But North Pulaski’s Payton Mullen got the matches’ final two kills after a service break to seal the victory for NP.

North Pulaski (5-4, 5-1) plays at Beebe on Thursday. The Lady Badgers are currently leading the 5A-Central race at 6-0.

Pulaski Academy lost to Beebe and sits at 5-1, while North Pulaski’s lone league loss so far was to PA. An NP win in Thursday would create a three-way tie atop the league standings heading into the second round robin of conference matches.