Down 11-3 in the second set, Enka’s hitters beginning to find a groove, Polk County never panicked, never stopped being positive.
With good reason.
The Wolverines stormed back from that deficit, winning that set en route to a 3-0 sweep Thursday of the Jets in a non-conference home volleyball matchup.
With head coach Molly Hill away on maternity leave, Polk County (7-1) made a winner of interim leader Jon Ezell in his coaching debut, claiming a 25-17, 25-19, 25-20 victory. The second set proved the key to that win.
After falling in the first set, Enka (6-5) opened the second set controlling play at the net. With senior Makena Phillips hammering kills from the outside and the Jets effectively blocking Polk’s attackers, Enka pulled away to that 11-3 advantage.
But back-to-back Grace Lauer kills stopped the rally, and Polk closed to within 12-9 on another Lauer kill. The Wolverines began to slow Phillips at the net and also in the back line, continually digging Enka attacks .
Polk evened the score at 17-17 on a Mireya Roman block, then pulled away, scoring eight of the final 10 points to claim the set.
“They stayed together and kept their composure,” Ezell said of the second-set turnaround. “We told them mistakes happen, and sometimes they happen in bunches. We stuck to our offense and we stuck to our stuff and it showed.
“This group of kids is special. They’re just special.”
Polk scored the first five points of the final set, extended the lead to 13-5 on a Kristen Hall kill and two Carolina Castillo aces and eventually led 17-6 on a Roman kill.
Enka rallied, slicing the margin to 18-15 and keeping it a three-point gap at 22-19. But a Hall kill made it 23-19, and the Wolverines soon closed the match on an Enka miscue.
Lauer had nine kills and Marilyn Castillo had seven kills, several in the second-set rally, to lead Polk. Carolina Castillo had 16 digs, with Sydney Waldman adding 15 and Hall finishing with 14. Waldman had 20 assists.
Hill, Polk County’s coach in her sixth season, welcomed her second child, a son, on Monday.
“Our volleyball family gained a new player this week,” Ezell said. “We are all so relieved that Molly and Kolt are doing so well. I would like to wish her a smooth and speedy recovery. I know she will cherish this time she is getting.”
Polk County travels Monday to face perennial area power West Henderson before returning home Tuesday to host Madison in its Western Highlands Conference opener.