North Adams volleyball again perfect in conference play –
By Mark Carpenter –
It is a streak unparalleled in the annals of Southern Hills Athletic Conference volleyball. For the fourth consecutive season, the North Adams Lady Devils will be collecting the prestigious gold ball trophy, given to teams who finish their conference schedule undefeated. For Coach Katie Ragan and her girls, not only was the 2016 season an unbeaten one in the SHAC, but the Lady Devils did not even lose a set to a conference opponent, going 13-0 and winning all 13 in straight sets, a pretty amazing feat in itself.
“Our program has improved so much in the last four years,” said Coach Ragan. “It is amazing to think that all of my current roster have never lost a conference match. Four years ago, we had some holes on offense and defense but my seniors and juniors have worked really hard in their off seasons and now we are a solid team.”
“Three years ago, we played several five-set matches in the conference and now this year, we don’t even lose a set.”
The Lady Devils wrapped up their undefeated 2016 conference schedule on Oct. 13 with a dominant win at home over the Ripley Lady Jays, 25-5, 25-5, and 25-8. With that victory, the North Adams girls extended a streak that has them not losing a conference match since the 2012 season. Seniors Maddie Toole and Madison Jenkins went their entire high school careers without losing an SHAC match.
“We just have a really good group of girls,” says Coach Ragan. “They are excellent students, give their time to help others, and I have been privileged to work with them. We defeated some teams that we have never beaten before and have our fourth gold ball. However, we have more goals to achieve before we are done.”
Those goals are for the postseason as the Lady Devils finished their regular season with a record of 19-3, with their only losses coming to Portsmouth Notre Dame, Huntington Ross, and Portsmouth City. North Adams will begin postseason play as a number three seed in Division III in the Southeast District on Saturday, Oct. 22, when they will host fellow SHAC member Eastern Brown, who are seeded sixth. A win there earns the Lady Devils a sectional championship and a trip to district semi-final play on Oct. 25 in Waverly, facing a likely match up with number two seeded Southeastern, a team that North Adams beat in five sets very early in the 2016 season.