Wrapping up a bid to the 5A volleyball state tournament last week, the North Pulaski Falcons are using the last two weeks of the regular season to prepare for that coveted desire.
"We’ve missed the state tournament the last two to three years by one match," Coach Benjie Belton said. "I’m so happy for the girls because they have really wanted to go the last two years. I’m glad they get the opportunity."
For several weeks, the Falcons were fairly sure they were going to qualify for the state tournament. The only question was which seed they would be. A victory over Sylvan Hills last Thursday sealed the third seed. North Pulaski lost twice to Little Rock Christian and Pulaski Academy, the number one and two seeds, so three and four came down to the Falcons and Sylvan Hills with the Bears winning the first meeting between the schools. North Pulaski defeated them in three sets last Thursday.
"There was not a better way it could have worked out," ‘Belton said. "The third seed was on the line, and it was senior night."
Belton was hoping the Falcons could get the second seed but that wasn’t to be. He is just pleased North Pulaski is going to the state tournament and was particularly happy with the way the Falcons performed last week. Prior to the Sylvan Hills contest, North Pulaski faced Little Rock Christian on the preceding Tuesday.
"(Against Sylvan Hills) We got 42 points off the serve and played well in serve receive and beat them like we should have at their place," he said. "If we play like we did last Thursday, any team will have their hands full."
Earlier in the season, Belton was frustrated as his Falcons were inconsistent and not always playing the way they were capable. However, he saw a transformation over the last two weeks and the results have been satisfying."
"The seniors stepped up and the underclassmen grew up," Belton said. "The seniors came together and we became one team. They have been fun to watch the last two weeks. I just wish they could have seen this earlier (in the season)."
The 5A state tournament begins Oct. 30 in Alma. Intending on qualifying for state from the start of the season, Belton scheduled matches for next week to prepare for post-season play. The Falcons face Clinton and Vilonia next week as warm ups prior to state competition.