Polk County senior Sydney Waldman

Focused Wolverines make quick work of Lions in playoff opener

Eleven straight points is quite a way to open the state playoffs.

That’s what Polk County did Saturday, rolling to an 11-0 lead in the first set and controlling play the rest of the way en route to a 25-8, 25-10, 25-8 win over Langtree Charter in the first round of the state 1A volleyball playoffs at Polk.

Reaching 20 wins for the third straight year, Polk County (20-5) will host Swain (13-11) in the second round of Tuesday, time to be announced. The Maroon Devils scored a 25-18, 25-11, 25-23 victory at South Stanly on Saturday.

Photos: Polk County sweeps past Langtree Charter

With more than a week since the Wolverines’ last game, Polk County head coach Molly Hill spent the past few days having the Wolverines focus on specific aspects of their game – most notably, worrying about their play and not that of the opponent.

After a brief delay due to Langtree’s late arrival, Polk took the court and seemed to take the message to heart. Marilyn Castillo’s serving helped the Wolverines race to that 11-point lead as Langtree (9-12) struggled to return serve. That would be a theme throughout the match, in which the Wolverines never trailed.

“We’ve been talking about playing our own game,” Hill said. “We struggled with that all season. I thought we did that today, and I’m really very pleased with how we played.

“It’s a different mindset and a different game now. You have to be 100 percent sure of what you’re doing, and if you make a mistake, you have to fix it fast. You have to stay up and focused. I thought we displayed that today, staying mentally focused.”

Grace Laue had 10 kills, with Mireya Roman, Marissa Twitty and Castillo each adding four. Carolina Castillo had 10 digs and Sydney Waldman finished with 23 assists.