Gritty Wolverines push Apple Valley to limit before falling in three sets

Polk County Middle's Jessa Kay prepares to serve in Monday's match.

Up 24-19, a point away from a match victory, Apple Valley’s volleyball team held up single fingers to indicate the lone point needed.

As proved the case throughout Monday’s match at Polk County Middle, the Knights had to wait a while to get that last point. A determined Wolverine squad made Apple Valley work for every point in a 23-25, 25-21, 25-21 Blue Ridge Conference win.

From a rally to win the opening set to staving off two match points before Apple Valley (7-2) closed out the third set, Polk County Middle (2-7) gave the East Division’s second-place team all it could handle. All three sets were close, Apple Valley’s hitting late in the third set ultimately helping decide the match.

“In the entire match the girls showed a fight today that we really haven’t seen all year,” said Polk Middle head coach Matthew Russell. “There are still some simple mistakes, but those can be fixed. They continue to believe and give everything they have and I’m proud of the girls for that.”

Apple Valley roared to a big lead in the first set, but the Wolverines fought back and scored the final five points of the match, the last two on shots by Adair Edwards and Amberlyn Scruggs, to claim the first set.

A see-saw second set highlighted by strong serving by Edwards stood deadlocked at 20-20 before the Knights reeled off three quick points, gave up the serve, then regained it and closed out the set.

The deciding set followed that pattern, close throughout. Back-to-back aces by Edwards made it 14-14 midway through, and the score stood 15-15 after a huge block by Abigail Garland helped give Polk Middle the tying point. The Knights, though, won the next four points, and Polk Middle got no closer than two points the rest of the way.

The Wolverines travel Wednesday to Hendersonville Middle before closing the regular season next Monday at home against Flat Rock.