This, this was good stuff.
The roaring fans, the screaming players, that only told part of the story Monday afternoon at Polk County Middle. Two very good middle school volleyball teams played at a very high level – long rallies, big hits at the net, quality serving and defense.
One of them, though, eventually had to win, and that proved to be the Wolverines, outlasting the Blue Devils for a 25-10, 24-26, 15-8 victory.
The teams entered tied for first in the Blue Ridge Conference’s East Division. Polk Middle (6-0, 4-0) now sits alone.
A big trip to Rugby Middle awaits Monday. A rematch at Brevard looms down the line. No one was thinking about either during Wednesday’s post-match celebration.
“I am so proud of how hard they fought and how well they executed,” said Polk Middle head coach Kenny Hall. “Our undefeated JVs deserve a lot of credit as well for winning their match, setting the tone and creating a ton of energy for the varsity team.
“Today’s game was huge.”
A back-and-forth second set eventually tipped Brevard’s way, forcing the deciding third set. The Blue Devils (4-2, 3-1) led early and still did so at the midway point, grabbing an 8-7 advantage.
Brevard wouldn’t score another point.
Following a Brevard error, Cate Brown’s service ace gave Polk a 9-8 lead. Beiji Olivari, a force throughout the match, put down a kill for an 11-8 lead. Olivari hammered home a free ball at the net for a 13-8 margin.
Brown served an ace to push Polk to match point, and Jessie Bradley delivered the match-winning point with a perfect tip at the net.
“Beija Oliveri was an absolute beast today,” Hall said. “But it literally took every player on the team to pull this game out.”
And every player celebrated accordingly.
Because this, this was good stuff.