Emotional, inspired, on target – and on to the state 1A volleyball quarterfinals.
Polk County put together perhaps its best effort of the season Thursday night, an emotion-driven, emphatic 25-13, 25-12, 25-20 win over Lincoln Charter in the third round of the state 1A playoffs.
The journey gets no easier for the Wolverines (22-3) as a talented East Surry squad visits Saturday for a 4 p.m. 1A quarterfinal match. The 26-2 Cardinals have lost only seven sets all season, six of those to North Surry, and feature senior Bethany Clayton, who leads all 1A players in the state this season with 400 kills.
It will be quite a challenge for a Polk County team that set a school single-season record for victories on Thursday. If the Wolverines play as they did against Lincoln Charter, it should be quite a match.
Polk County took the floor more excited and emotional than perhaps in any game this season, jumping to an 8-3 lead in the opening set before Lincoln Charter (19-6) took a timeout. The Wolverines continued to hit well, often keeping the Eagles from running their offense due to being pushed to defend Polk County’s hitters.
Polk completed a 25-13 win in the first set, then fell behind 8-3 in the second set. A Kristen Hall tip broke East Surry’s serve at that point and set into motion a 16-2 Wolverine run. Polk closed with a 25-13 win to take a two-set lead.
“They were excited, energetic and our hitters were on,” said Polk County head coach Molly Hill. “They had a crazy amount of excitement, and it pumped each of them up and the team up and even pumped me up. It helped all of the puzzle pieces fall into place.”
Tied at 11 in the final set, a Reagan Waddell kill sparked a run of eight straight points for the Wolverines. Lincoln Charter rallied late in the set to pull within 24-20 before a Hall kill from the right side ended the match.
“We served really aggressively and just hit the ball really well,” Hill said. “The setters felt confident setting everyone because everybody was on.”
Waddell had 15 kills, 12 digs, four aces and two solo blocks for Polk County, with Mireya Roman adding six kills and four solo blocks and Grace Lauer finishing with five kills. Kendall Hall had 11 digs and three aces, Ansley Lynch had 12 digs and three solo blocks and Kristen Hall had 16 assists, nine digs and six kills.
Lauren Ketwitz added seven assists, Sydney Waldman finished with five assists and four aces and Marissa Twitty had two solo blocks.