Polk continues push toward playoffs with sweep of Owen

With the start of the 1A playoffs quickly approaching, Molly Hill is focused on getting Polk County back into a postseason groove.

The Wolverines would like nothing more than to make a repeat run to the state 1A championship match and hope wins such as Tuesday’s 3-0 triumph over Owen are a stepping stone on that path.

Polk County recorded a 25-14, 25-15, 25-21 victory over Owen, improving to 16-3 overall, 7-0 in Western Highlands Conference matches. The Wolverines travel Thursday to Avery for their next WHC clash.

The game marked the second for Hill since her return from maternity leave. While things ran largely untouched during her absence under the direction of assistant coach Jon Ezell, Hill expects there to be some adjustments to make as she settles back on the sidelines.

“There are definitely some kinks we need to work out,” Hill said. “We need to fix a few things that I specifically see and want to fix.

“We definitely are starting to get into the mindset of wanting to win in the playoffs and being ready for the tough games that are ahead.”

Tuesday’s three sets all followed a pattern – Polk racing to a large lead, Owen staging a small comeback, the Wolverines closing out the set.

Polk grabbed a 15-4 lead in the opening set, saw Owen briefly close within eight before pulling away and ending the set on back-to-back aces by Kristen Hall.

Marilyn Castillo’s serving helped spark a pair of Polk runs in the second set, the latter helping the Wolverines turn a 12-11 lead into a 20-14 margin. The Wolverines closed the set with four straight kills by Grace Lauer and Marissa Twitty, with Twitty hammering home set point from a middle set.

The third set proved more of the same – Polk jumped out to a 12-5 edge, but Owen chipped away and closed to 22-21. A Lauer kill made it 23-21, and Owen error brought on match point and Castillo drilled a kill that hit the top of the net and rolled over to end the match.

Lauer had 13 kills for Polk, with Castillo and Hall each adding five. Sydney Waldman finished with 25 assists and 11 digs for the Wolverines.

Carolina Castillo had 13 digs, with Hall recording six and Emmie McDowell adding five digs and a pair of assists.