Nicolas Lopez keeps his eye on the ball during first-half action in Saturday’s win. Lopez had one of Polk’s three goals.

Wolverines enjoy afternoon matinee, down Highlands 3-0

It proved the best kind of Saturday afternoon matinee for Polk County – 80 minutes long, snack bar available and a happy ending.

The Wolverines won their annual weekend matchup with Highlands, taking a 3-0 victory on a warm, sunny afternoon in G.M. Tennant Stadium.

Polk County (14-2) claimed its sixth straight victory ahead of two key Western Highlands Conference matches. The conference-leading Wolverines travel Monday to face Madison, currently in second, before hosting Owen on Wednesday.

Saturday’s game didn’t showcase a Wolverine team at its best, said head coach Josh Trejo, and the unusual day and start time may have played a role in that.

“It was a different atmosphere for the boys,” Trejo said. “I’m not making any excuses, but I don’t think we played as well as we normally do, and just the temperature and playing on a different day than we normally play might have had something to do with that.”

Polk County goalkeeper Greyson Ball soars to deflect a corner kick during Saturday’s win over Highlands.

Polk County took a 1-0 lead in the seventh minute of the match as Matias Akers hit a free kick from some 45 yards out, deep on the right wing, that found the upper left corner of the net.

The score stayed that way until late in the half when defender Nicolas Lopez gained possession of the ball in the Polk end and pushed upfield, driving past midfield before slipping a pass through the Highlands defense to Isaac Edwards.

Edwards hit a hard drive from the left corner that struck the far post and bounced in front of the net. Lopez, still running forward after his pass, collected the free ball and tapped it into net for a 2-0 Polk lead.

The Wolverines closed the scoring in the 63rd minute when Grayson Jones struck a low rolling line drive that skipped through a Highlands defender and goalkeeper and into the net.

Polk’s defense, meanwhile, largely kept Highlands from mounting a serious threat, a solid showing from a back line missing senior Mateo Mendoza, who was injured in practice last week and will likely miss the rest of the season.

“It was good to have a clean sheet,” Trejo said. “The defense played well. They were calm and played out balls like they’re supposed to do.”