Third-set romp helps propel Polk County to 2A playoff victory

An East Gaston fan enthusiastically waved a “Beat The Weasles” sign Saturday, and perhaps that’s a task that might better have suited the Warriors.

Trying to stop Polk County’s Wolverines certainly did not make for a pleasant afternoon.

Denied a postseason trip a season ago, Polk County made a successful playoff return, sweeping East Gaston 25-14, 25-17, 25-2 in a 2A first-round match.

The Wolverines (11-13) will continue their postseason on Tuesday, traveling to West Stanly for a second-round match. The Colts (23-4), champions of the Rocky River Conference, swept Trinity in their playoff opener.

No matter how well Polk County plays Tuesday, or any other time soon, the Wolverines may not again see a set like Saturday’s final stanza.

Polk scored the first 14 points, gave up a point on a service error, then scored 10 more points for a 24-1 lead. East Gaston senior standout Rachel Green delivered the final kill of her career to make it 24-2 before the Wolverines closed the match, the Warrior offense recording just the one point in the set.

“We served really well, especially in the third set,” said Polk County head coach Molly Hill. “We served aggressively and served well.”

Polk County finished its 2020 regular season undefeated, but couldn’t take part in postseason play due to a positive COVID-19 case in the program. The Wolverines wasted no time Saturday in settling back into the postseason routine.

Polk opened a 9-4 lead in the opening set, keyed by strong blocking, and steadily extended the margin, closing the set on a Sophia Overholt tip. East Gaston (16-7) grabbed an early lead in the second set, but a pair of Overholt left-handed kills and an Amberlyn Scruggs ace helped push Polk to a 12-8 advantage. The Wolverines made it 17-11 and largely swapped points the rest of the way to claim the set.

“In the first game we struggled a bit keeping our speed and playing our game,” Hill said. “During the timeouts they called I told the team that we’ve got to work and do our game, run our stuff and have fun with it. They adjusted well.

“After we had the Band-Aid ripped off last year, it was nice to be back in the playoffs. I kept telling them in the huddle to be excited. This is the exciting part of the season.”

Overholt had 13 kills, six digs and three aces, with Morgan Yoder posting 11 kills. Ada Kelley had six kills while Mia Bradley had four kills, three aces and 12 assists.

Scruggs had 16 assists and six digs, with Ella Waldman adding six digs and Kinsley Huskey finishing with four blocks.

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