Blue Devils down ailing Wolverines in MF7 tourney title match
So much of volleyball is about timing.
Timing of the pass to the setter, timing of the set to the hitter, timing of throwing up a block defensively.
Timing of when sickness strikes half your lineup. . .
Polk County had three starters out Wednesday and several other players present but also fighting illness. The Wolverines still battled Brevard in the championship match of the Mountain Foothills 7 Conference Volleyball Tournament, but the Blue Devils claimed a 25-15, 25-18, 25-15 victory at Polk.
The loss leaves Polk County (21-3) as the second playoff seed from the MF7, meaning the Wolverines will likely be the 12th seed in the 2A West playoff bracket. Pairings will be announced Thursday, with the first round set to be played Saturday.
The concern now for Polk is how much healing the team can do between now and that playoff opener.
“We talked about that in the locker room,” said Polk County head coach Molly Hill. “We’ve got to take care of ourselves. We’re going to have short, minimal practices with who we have. We can’t be sitting outside during the football game in 30-degree weather.
“We’re going to be home, we’re going to take care of ourselves and do what we’ve got to do to get healthy, committing ourselves to volleyball and to what’s coming next.”
With starters Morgan Yoder, Sophia Overholt and Amberlyn Scruggs not present, Hill elevated Lexi Beiler, Thais Vorbe and Hayden Blackwell from the junior varsity squad. All three played and played well. In fact, the entire Wolverine lineup did.
But Brevard (19-5) got solid hitting from Meleah Foster and Ella Scott throughout the evening, and that plus the usual effort from senior standout Mackensie Baldridge meant the Wolverines needed every bit of firepower they could muster.
“It’s just unfortunate circumstances,” Hill said. “As hard as it is and as much as I hate to lose, I was proud of them. They came in and they played where I asked them to play and they did what they were supposed to do.
“We had girls up fromt he JV that haven’t touched the varsity court this season that started and played. It was a lot to ask, and they did it. I thought Elena Carroll had one of her best games of the season. She stepped up huge for me. I told them to hold their heads high and think about all the positives.”
Carroll had eight kills, with Mia Bradley adding six and Ada Kelley, Elysia Smith and Beiler each adding three.
Zaelea Eller had 11 assists, with Blackwell delivering seven. Carroll also finished with 16 digs, with Ella Waldman recording 12, Kelley adding 10 and Bradley recording seven.