Polk County senior Charlie Jackson delivers a return Thursday during his match at No. 2 doubles

The setting sun Thursday provided a perfect backdrop for three Polk County tennis players closing out their final home match.

The approaching dusk, though, didn’t hide any Wolverine smiles.

Polk County outlasted Patton 5-4 to score a Mountain Foothills 7 Conference victory, handing its seniors a celebratory end to a hard-fought match.

The Wolverines (3-6, 3-4) and Panthers (2-8, 2-6) split the six singles matches, leaving the three doubles matches to decide the day’s outcome. All three were highly contested, with Polk senior McClain Koistinen and freshman Morgan Allen providing a key point at No. 3 doubles with an 8-6 victory.

Patton answered with a come-from-behind 9-7 victory at No. 2 doubles before Polk’s top team of Banks Barber and Riley Ballentine claimed an 8-4 win, Barber punctuating the final point with a loud shout of joy.

One of those post-match smiles belonged to head coach Tracy Becker, though hers had a slightly bittersweet air.

“Saying goodbye to our seniors is always kind of tough,” Becker said. “Harrison Ashworth came out for the first time this year, and that was a really nice addition to our team. Even though he was a senior, he still played and picked it up really easily.

“Charlie (Jackson) and McClain have been with us since their sophomore year. And sophomore year they didn’t play, so they both have improved over the past two years.”

Ashworth delivered one of the three singles wins, taking his match at No. 6 singles with a 7-5, 6-2 triumph over David Gomez-Rodriguez. Barber and Ballentine were the other singles winners.

Polk County is scheduled to close its regular season on Monday, traveling to Brevard.

SINGLES
1. Banks Barber (PC) d. Bryant Arrowood 6-0, 6-0; 2. Riley Ballentine (PC) d. Thomas Buchholtz 6-1, 6-1; 3. Gary Jiarui Jr. (P) d. Charlie Jackson 6-3, 6-2; 4. Louie Skelly (P) d. McClain Koistinen 6-0, 6-2; 5. Will Evans (P) d. David Amitrano 3-6, 6-4, 10-6 tiebreaker; 6. Harrison Ashworth (PC) d. David Gomez-Rodriguez 7-5, 6-2.

DOUBLES
1. Barber-Ballentine (PC) d. Arrowood-Jiarui 8-4; 2. Buchholtz-Skelly (P) d. Jackson-Amitrano 9-7; 3. Koistinen-Morgan Allen (PC) d. Evans-Ryan Maney 8-6.