When not serving as the buffer between her head coach and teammates or officials, senior setter Emily North provided the Lady Hawks with four years of stable leadership and exceptional play.
Those skills will travel south to Division II Texas A&M University — Kingsville in the fall after North officially signed her National Letter of Intent Wednesday, Nov. 15.
While introducing North before the signing, Red Oak head volleyball coach Hope Porter recalled the setter's first year as the Lady Hawks' speaking captain. Porter, who can be quite intense at times, would sternly instruct North to "go over there and talk to them." To which she'd feebly ask, "but what do I say?"
"Now, this year, before I could even call her over she would be like, 'I got it, coach, I'm going," said Porter as she imitated North throwing up a calming hand and walking away. "She learned that role, took it on and did a fantastic job for us over the last four years. She has also matured tremendously on the court over the last four years. 'Em' has been coming to volleyball games at Red Oak High School since she was in elementary school, so she has been around this program for a long time."
North was a four-year letterman for the Lady Hawks, garnering District 10-5A Setter of the Year honors this season and first-team honors after her junior campaign. Over those two seasons, North has done a little of it all on the court.
She posted 1,435 assists (5.2 per set), 680 digs, 520 kills, 73 aces and 592 service points in 277 sets. North recorded season-highs in kills (19) and digs (21) on Aug. 29 against North Crowley, and assists (43) Oct. 3 against Midlothian.
North, who was recruited to be a setter for the Javelinas in a 5-1 offense, said she is excited to take the next step in her career, but admitted that there are quite a few nerves, too.
“Sometimes I lay in bed thinking about. I’m so nervous, but I know that other girls are going through it too and that they have said they are so excited to have me. They have opened their arms to me, so I’m excited."
She plans to major in sports business, which was one of the selling points when she was being recruited.
From the Red Oak coaching staff to the team in general or even the practice schedule, North said the daily and comfortable routine is the biggest thing she will miss after leaving Red Oak.
“Four years on varsity, I had a routine and I know everything here. Now I’m going somewhere where I don’t know what will happen. Red Oak is my safety net," she explained.
[...] Those first two years were really tough, and we had to overcome a lot of adversity over these four years. But coming out senior year and really leaving our mark and getting Red Oak volleyball back on track was amazing. I couldn’t ask for much more from our senior year being district champions and going farther in playoffs. It was the best.”