Bulldogs begin playoff push

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NORTH ZULCH — The North Zulch volleyball team defeated Grapeland on their senior night last week as well as Normangee for a third-place tiebreaker in Madisonville on Saturday.

The Bulldogs began their postseason last night against Neches in Buffalo.

“We need to play a consistent game,” said North Zulch volleyball coach Kim Branch before the playoff bout. “We just need to go out there and compete every night and every point.”

The Bulldogs were superbly consistent to close out the regular year and secure a three seed. Seniors Cassidy Brown, Emma Baker, Raegan VanCour and Sally Osth used the momentum of their last career home games to take down Grapeland in four sets. The four girls were honored on the court prior to the game with family members.

“This is a special group of seniors who have had huge impacts on this program,” said Branch. “They were a part of the team that made it to state and have been a solid group of leaders. To honor them and see the respect the younger players have for them speaks volumes to their character. They have set a high standard for the next team.”

The senior night slate began with a razor thin margin, as the Bulldogs stole the opening set 26-24. Grapeland evened up the game with a 25-18 victory, but the home team erased all doubt with two 25-19 wins in sets three and four.

North Zulch concluded the regular season tied with district opponent Normangee, and the two squads battled on Saturday evening in Madisonville to decide who would get higher playoff placement.

VanCour set the standard for the Bulldogs with an outstanding performance. The senior led the team in kills while sophomore Anna Osth recorded many of her own. Sally Osth was effective hitting on the outside and Baker led the offense with her setting.

The tiebreaking match fittingly came down to the wire. The Bulldogs needed all five sets to put away Normangee.

With the postseason underway, the margin for error diminishes. The playoff is set up as a single elimination format, so it’s lose and go home for the Bulldogs.

“This team has the talent,” said Branch. “It’s time to put it all together. All six girls playing all out.”

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