Saturday, October 17, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> N. Pulaski dominates last match at The Nest

Leader sports editor

Nothing was normal about the final home volleyball match ever at North Pulaski High School on Thursday, but it turned into a fun senior night as the Lady Falcons routed McClellan 25-8, 25-2 and 25-11.

All matches this year started an hour earlier than other matches around the state because NP did not have enough players for a junior varsity team. The match was moved back a half-hour for senior night ceremony, and then the ceremony was postponed until after the match. So both teams stood around for 45 minutes because the officials got the match started even later than 5:30.

The Lady Falcons kept the bizarreness going for a few minutes after the match started. McClellan (0-15, 0-11) took serve to open the match, and NP flubbed each of the first six serves, falling behind 6-0.

McClellan finally served one into the net; North Pulaski’s Lindsey Burris served eight-straight points, including four aces, to give the Lady Falcons the lead.

After McClellan’s break point, NP broke back, bringing Payton Mullen to the service line with North Pulaski leading 9-7. She served all the way to 21-8, and dished out seven aces.

Makiyah Brown served out the last three points, including an untouched ace for game point.

Mullen took serve to start game two. She served all the way to 18-0 before a hitting error by NP gave McClellan a point. Mullen served up eight more aces and senior Kiarra Evans got five kills during the run.

NP immediately broke back and Brown served to 24-1 before another kill attempt hit the top of the net and came back to NP’s side. Evans ended game two with a huge kill that landed inside the Lady Lion attack line.

North Pulaski coach Benji Belton substituted freely and allowed his seniors to play positions other than their normal ones in game three. It made for a slightly more competitive final game. Most of McClellan’s points came from unforced North Pulaski errors, but the players had fun finishing out a match well in hand.

“I just want them to have fun,” said Belton.

Mullen finished with 36 points on serve and 18 aces. Evans had 12 kills and Brown 10 assists.

North Pulaski (8-9, 7-4) plays at Beebe on Tuesday. The Lady Badgers are 13-0 in the 5A-Central and have already locked up an outright conference championship. NPHS is tied for third place with Sylvan Hills. The Lady Bears play second-place Pulaski Academy on Tuesday.

NP or SH could break the tie if one were to pull off an upset on Tuesday. If they remain tied after next week’s conference finale, they will go all the way to the fourth tiebreaker to determine third and fourth place.