Bulldogs fall to end playoff push

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LONGVIEW — The North Zulch Bulldogs made it all the way to the Lobo Coliseum in Longview and the Regional Finals before they fell to Iola in four.

The Bulldogs took down Centerville and Gary before to qualify, and despite the loss, had an unforgettable year.

“This team accomplished a lot more than many people expected,” said Bulldogs head coach Kim Branch. “They showed their true character at the end of the season by fighting back and beating teams that beat them earlier in the season.”

North Zulch advanced to Longview thanks to an impressive win in straight sets over Centerville in Madisonville last Tuesday. The game seemed destined for at least four sets, but the Bulldogs charged back to steal game two and seize the momentum.

The Bulldogs would takedown Gary on Friday afternoon at Lobo Coliseum to advance to the Regional Finals. The win came in four sets. The North Zulch run would end in four sets to Iola on Saturday.

“I didn’t say much after the loss,” said Branch. “They were disappointed that we weren’t going to State. Once we got home, they stopped and realized they were one of the last eight teams in 2A still left. That is quite an accomplishment in itself.”

Branch stressed the togetherness her group felt for one another all season long. The seniors led the whole way and set the bar for the underclassmen. Many of these teammates have been playing together for years and consider themselves a family.

“What I will remember most is the heart that they showed,” said Branch. “Their work ethic and determination were both outstanding all season. I will remember the journey that got us here. The disappointing losses and exciting wins and the little moments where you see an individual shine.”

Many of the North Zulch volleyball players will immediately shift gears and begin work for the basketball season, which is also coached by Branch. The Bulldog basketball team held their first practice on Monday.

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