Lady Bull­dogs end season at state vol­ley­ball tour­na­ment

Westside Eagle-Observer - - SPORTS/NEWS - MIKE ECKELS meck­els@nwadg.com

DE­CATUR — It was an ex­cit­ing time for mem­bers of the De­catur Lady Bull­dog vol­ley­ball team when they walked through the doors at De­catur High School Oct. 22 and pre­pared to de­part for Paragould and the team’s very first state play­offs. The team boarded the bus for its long jour­ney into De­catur sports his­tory.

Prior to de­part­ing, the coaches and play­ers were given a grand send­off. Stu­dents from both the mid­dle and high schools formed a line from the main hall­way near the of­fice all the way to the bus. After the De­catur fight song and abun­dant cheers, the Lady Bull­dog vol­ley­ball team headed off on a six-hour ride to Paragould.

After spend­ing the night in the mod­er­ate cen­tral Arkansas city, the girls awoke fresh and ready for their first game. But the girls had a tough road ahead when they faced off against the St. Joseph Lady Bull­dogs in the first round of the 2A state tour­na­ment at Crow­ley’s Ridge High School in Paragould Oct. 23.

St. Joseph went into the match at the num­ber one spot in the 2A con­fer­ence, with a record of 25-4-3 and a 10-0 con­fer­ence record.

The Lady Bull­dogs had trou­ble keep­ing up with the stronger and more ex­pe­ri­enced team and lost the first set, 25-7. De­catur tried to keep pace, but St. Joseph dom­i­nated and also took the sec­ond set, 25-14, and the third and fi­nal set, 25-8, elim­i­nat­ing De­catur from the state tour­na­ment in three straight sets.

The Lady Bull­dogs ended the season with an over­all record of 6-13 and a con­fer­ence record of 6-6, one of the best sea­sons so far for the young team. And first-time coaches Ta­jhe Turner and Laramie Burge achieved some­thing that ev­ery first-year coach hopes for, go­ing to a state tour­na­ment.

Sub­mit­ted/HAN­NAH HAWKINS

Mem­bers of the Lady Bull­dog vol­ley­ball team sit on the travel bus wait­ing for the start of a six-hour jour­ney to the state vol­ley­ball tour­na­ment in Paragould Oct. 22. Mem­bers on the bus in­clude Kalie McBride (bot­tom, left), Natalie Ro­driguez, Coach Ta­jhe Turner, Ithzel Mar­tine (mid­dle row, cen­ter), Heidi Rubi, Stephanie San­doval (back row, left), Bron­wyn Berry and Mck­inzee Swaim.

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