Even Kenny Hall joined the display of vertical prowess Wednesday at Polk County Middle.
As the final point of the Wolverines’ hard-fought Blue Ridge Conference Tournament semifinal win over Canton Middle hit the floor, every Polk Middle player on the court leapt in celebration. So too did Hall and perhaps half the Wolverine bench.
They knew a berth in Monday’s championship match was officially theirs. They also understood how hard they hard to work to secure the 25-18, 25-21 victory over the Bears.
“That was a great win,” Hall said. “Canton put us in some tough spots. I’m just really proud of how resilient the girls were. Even when they got down by the score, they still kept their cool.
“They proved at the end of the day that they were the better team, and we’re excited and looking forward to a championship match.”
Polk Middle (14-2) will travel Monday to Macon Middle, winners Wednesday over Rugby Middle, in a rematch of last season’s BRC championship match. Macon (14-0) won that one and also won the teams’ first meeting earlier this season.
The Wolverines will need to play defense equally as well as they did Wednesday and also perhaps have a repeat bit of good fortune.
After trailing nearly all of the opening set, Canton Middle (11-3) began getting its offense going in the second game and pushed to a 13-9 advantage. At that point, Hall called a timeout, calming down the Wolverines as the vocal Bears fans filled the Polk gym with noise.
On the ensuing point following the timeout, Polk stopped Canton’s scoring run with an Abby Pruitt kill from the back row that clipped the top of the net and just dropped over. Abby Lewis then sandwiched a pair of service winners around a Reeve Carroll bump that landed untouched to tie the score at 13-13, and Carroll scored on a tip kill that gave the Wolverines the lead and forced a Canton timeout.
The teams swapped points until, at 18-18, a Carroll kill and ace gave the Wolverines a 20-18 edge. Amiyah Waters scored on a tip to make it 23-20 and Lewis delivered a service ace at match point to seal the win and spark all that jumping about.
“Our defense did play well today,” Hall said. “We got to a lot of balls. In this sport, you can’t cover every square inch of the court, and that’s what I tell my back-row players. As long as you give great effort to get to it, then we just clap our hands for the other team and move on to the next one.
“That’s what they did today. I’m just so proud of them.”