Right now, North Pulaski Coach Benjie Belton is having a hard time figuring out what is going on with the Falcon volleyball team.
Case in point, the Falcons lost to Sylvan Hills Tuesday night in five sets. That’s after winning the first two 25-8 and 25-16. The last three sets were 25-15, 25-15, 15-5.
"We’ve never been dismantled like that," Belton said. "I just can’t make sense of that. We’ll just have to keep working and see what happens."
All season, North Pulaski has been inconsistent. The up-and-down play is something Belton has been dealing with but the Tuesday match was a first. Passing and blocking were missing, but missed serves were a major culprit.
"We were serving very well the first two sets," Belton said. "And then we can’t get a serve in, I don’t understand that. We had one girl serve eight in row, and then didn’t get another serve in the rest of the night. I can see the expression on their faces and know it’s going to go downhill in a hurry."
At 3-3 in conference play, the Falcons’ other two losses were to Pulaski Academy and Little Rock Christian. While North Pulaski had chances in win sets in those two matches, the Sylvan Hills match was a totally different scenario.
"I don’t know if they thought they were going to beat Sylvan Hills by just showing up," Belton said. "It’s about momentum, and once you lose it, you can’t get it back."
North Pulaski faces Little McClellan tonight, and the second half of the conference starts next week. The Falcons’ goal is to qualify for the state tournament, and they also wanted to finish second in the conference. That target is probably not attainable but making state is. The top four conference finishers advance to the state tournament, and Belton thinks right now they are fighting for fourth.
"It’s (making state) a priority now," he said. "We have to get going. If we don’t, we’ll be sitting at home. If we show up, we can play with anybody. But, if you don’t pass and serve, then you aren’t going to win and don’t deserve to win."
Because the girls felt bad about what happened, Belton wasn’t going to address Tuesday’s match in practice. He was just going to talk about some mistakes that can be fixed and go from there. What remains to be seen is how the Falcons respond against McClellan tonight and West Helena and Pulaski Academy next week.