Once again, Polk County Middle will need a new championship banner for its volleyball program. The only question remaining is what that banner will say.
For the second time in three years, the Wolverines are the best that the Blue Ridge Middle School Conference’s Eastern Division has to offer. Polk wrapped up the division crown Wednesday with a straight-set win over Flat Rock in the regular-season finale for both schools.
Delighting a home crowd, Polk polished off an 11-1 season with a 25-11, 25-15 victory. The win not only secured the Eastern title, but insured that Polk Middle will be at home for the duration of the Blue Ridge postseason tourney, which starts Monday and will determine the conference champion.
“At the first practice in August, we pointed up to where they hang the banners and said, that’s what we want,” said Polk Middle head coach Matthew Russell. “The girls put the work in and they got it done. They deserve it.”
Flat Rock’s hopes to spoil Polk’s day ended pretty quickly. The Eagles scored the first point of the match, then watched Polk score the next eight, keyed by the serving of Meadow Becker. The margin lingered around seven points for some time until the Wolverines pulled away late, Sydney Metcalf ending the first set with a kill.
Russell substituted freely in the second set and Flat Rock hung around a bit longer, though never led. Polk took control of the match midway through the set and coasted to the win, match point coming on a Flat Rock error.
The Wolverines held a quiet postgame celebration, a team photo the lone acknowledgement of the division title. That’s because, Russell said, Polk has a bigger goal in mind.
“The division title is great,” he said. “But we want to be conference champions.
“We’re confident right now. At the same time, we’re not looking past anybody. At this point in the season, when you’re talking about playoffs, every team we play is going to be a good team.”
The drive for the Blue Ridge crown will begin Monday against an opponent to be determined.