Polk County volleyball coach Molly Hill is beginning to see the same team on the game floor that she sees on the practice floor.
Of this, she is glad. Opponents, perhaps not so much.
Polk County puts its practice-what-she-teaches approach to good use Saturday, sweeping past Franklin in straight sets in the first round of the state 2A volleyball playoffs at Polk County.
The Wolverines (18-5) will host Salisbury on Tuesday in the second round. Salisbury defeated R-S Central in five sets on Saturday.
Polk County needed just over an hour to post a 25-16, 25-14, 25-12 victory over the 11-12 Panthers. The Wolverines rarely trailed and were able to utilize a handful of junior varsity players added for the match.
“We’ve practiced a lot the last few weeks about being visual, seeing the openings on the court and putting the ball there,” said Hill. “We did really well in doing that.
“I love seeing them learn something in practice and then take what we do in practice and apply it in a game. I love seeing them do that.”
The Wolvernes stormed to a 7-1 lead in the first set and never yielded that advantage. Franklin pulled within three at 13-10 before Polk County scored eight of the next nine points, back-to-back aces by Ashley Love capping that surge and giving Polk a 21-11 lead. Cameron Capozzi closed the set with a kill.
The Wolverines steadily built a huge lead in the second set, with back-to-back aces by Maddie Blackwell giving Polk an 18-5 margin, the largest lead of the set. The third set largely followed the same pattern, Polk pulling away from a 5-5 tie to take a 22-12 advantage. A Lily Owens kill and Reagan Waddell ace brought match point, which Franklin hit into the net to end the game.
The Wolverines have now won eight straight matches, including Wednesday’s emotional win over Hendersonville.
“I think we’ve always been confident, but a big game like Hendersonville, where we let ourselves get nervous, I feel like the confidence has grown,” Hill said. “I hope we can keep that confidence building throughout the playoffs.”
Owens had nine kills and nine digs, with Sarah Phipps adding eight kills and 14 digs. Kendall Hall handled a number of tough chances early in the match and finished with 21 digs, with Kara Overholt