Polk Middle's Kylie Lewis wins a point at the net during the first set of Tuesday's match

It was almost worth the wait.

An absence of officials delayed the start of Polk County Middle’s volleyball match with Rugby Middle. Once in action, the Wolverines nearly engineered an upset of the undefeated Raiders, dropping a 22-25, 25-21, 15-12 decision.

Polk Middle (3-2) battled the Raiders (5-0) evenly throughout the day, relying on its strong serving and a stubborn defense to match points. Rugby, in the end, won just a few more, but that took nothing away from the Wolverines’ showing.

“I’m very proud of the effort of our team today,” said Polk Middle head coach Kenny Hall. “They have had to deal with a lot of adversity already this season but still come out and give 100 percent every match.

“They represent our school, program and community at the highest level.”

Photos: Polk Middle 5th Quarter team battles Rugby

Rugby led most of the first set, but Polk finally inched ahead late at 20-19. A pair of aces by Charly Dusenbury gave the Wolverines a 22-21 advantage, and a Sidney Carroll kill moments later pushed Polk to set point at 24-22. The Wolverines claimed the next point and took a 1-0 lead.

A long serving run by Kylie Lewis in the second set gave Polk Middle a 14-10 lead, but a late 6-0 run by Rugby gave the Raiders a 21-17 advantage, and Rugby closed out the set moments later to even the match.

The Wolverines grabbed a 5-0 edge to start the third set on the strength of Mia Bradley’s serving, but the Raiders clawed back into the match, finally evening the score at 7-7. Polk held its final lead at 10-9, but Rugby scored the next five points to reach match point at 14-10.

The Wolverines forced a side out and cut the margin to 14-12, but the Raiders notched the final point there to claim the win.

Having reached the midpoint of the regular season, Polk Middle will start its second trip through the Blue Ridge Conference’s East Division on Wednesday, traveling to Apple Valley.