Venue change, Hilltoppers prove no problem for Wolverines in 3-0 win

A change in venue didn’t prevent a change in fortune Wednesday for Polk County.

The Wolverines snapped a five-match losing streak with emphasis, a solid defensive performance keying a 3-0 sweep of R-S Central in a Mountain Foothills 7 Conference match at Polk County Middle School.

A leak in Polk County High’s gym led to the match moving to PCMS. The late switch looked to have little effect on the Wolverines (7-11, 4-5), who rallied from a first-set deficit to take that set, 26-24, then claimed the final two 25-16 and 25-20.

The Hilltoppers (13-7, 5-5) featured an attack led by 2020 all-state hitter Makenzi Searcy, but Polk County began to effectively block Searcy and other R-S hitters, especially in the final two sets.

“We talked about their outside hitters and how they really took it to us (in R-S Central’s five-set win last week),” said Polk County head coach Molly Hill. “We challenged them to shut down those outside hitters, and we did a good job of that. We also did a really good job behind the blocks keeping balls alive.

“I thought we had a lot of people step up. With Zaelea (Eller) still hurt, we had to change our lineup and move people into different positions. Our three freshmen (Mia Bradley, Sophia Overholt and Morgan Yoder) had to play all the way around. Everybody played great.”

Amberlyn Scruggs had 17 assists for Polk County in Wednesday’s win

R-S surged late in the first set to a 23-17 advantage, but a Bradley kill returned possession to Polk, and the Wolverines fought back to within 23-22 as Yoder and Ada Kelley had key kills along with an Ella Waldman ace.

The Hilltoppers’ Dorothy Jane Norris put down a kill to move R-S to set point, but Yoder responded with back-to-back kills to even the set, and a pair of R-S miscues gave Polk the final two points and a one-set lead.

The Wolverines opened a 14-8 lead in the second set, survived a small R-S rally and pulled away, Overholt notching the final point with a nice tip at the net past two R-S blockers.

Polk snapped a 13-13 deadlock in the final set with four straight points, and the Hilltoppers got no closer than two points the rest of the set as Polk, which had seen leads slip away in its last three matches, made certain this one did not.

“It feels very nice to win,” Hill said. “This is more of what I’m used to seeing in how we play. Now comes the consistency part of it. We’ve got to be more consistent and play like this all of the time.”

Yoder finished with 15 kills and five blocks, with Overholt notching nine kills and 15 digs. Kelley had five kills and four blocks.

Bradley finished with four kills, 14 assists, four blocks and five digs, with Amberlyn Scruggs posting 17 assists and seven digs. Ella Waldman had 18 digs.

Polk County is back in action on Thursday, traveling to Chase before entering the final week of regular-season play next week.

Elysia Smith finds an attack path between two R-S Central blockers during Wednesday’s match