Polk County Middle delivered a drama-free effort to move a step away from a conference championship.
The Wolverines, who needed a third set Monday to defeat Smoky Mountain Middle, had no such worries in Wednesday’s semifinal match with Brevard Middle, sweeping the Blue Devils 25-16, 25-19 at Polk.
The victory moves Polk Middle (13-1) into Monday’s tourney final against Macon Middle (13-0). That championship matchup of BRC East and West division winners will begin at 4:30 p.m. at Polk.
The Wolverines scored the first four points Wednesday and controlled the match from start to finish. Brevard (7-5) only led for a total of four points in the match, each of those midway through the second set.
The last of those leads came at 18-17, during a flurry in which the teams swapped points and the lead. Following a timeout, Polk scored two quick points to grab a 19-18 advantage and prompt a Brevard timeout.
Reeve Carroll served three aces in four points out of that timeout, though, giving Polk a 23-18 advantage. The teams swapped points before Cate Brown closed the match with another ace.
“To beat Brevard Middle School three times in one season is probably unheard of,” said Polk Middle head coach Kenny Hall. “They have such a good program.
“Again, serving is our thing, and it came through for us today. We struggled a bit early with that, but when we’re playing well, our serving can cause a lot of problems for the other team receiving.”
Polk raced to a 6-1 lead in the opening set, but Brevard rallied and pulled within a point at 10-9. Kills by Carroll and Brown and two Brown aces helped push the lead to 16-10, and Brevard got no closer than five points the rest of the set.
Two Beija Olivari aces highlighted a 4-0 run to open the second set, but Brevard quickly responded, fighting back to even the set at 5-5. Polk again opened a four-point margin, but the Devils again fought back, eventually taking their first lead of the match at 13-12 and setting the stage for the closing burst.
And now Polk Middle will have a shot at its first BRC conference title since 2016.
“I’m so proud of these girls,” Hall said. “I just can’t wait for Monday and to have a chance to play for a conference championship.”