By the third set Tuesday evening, smiles were plastered on every face on Polk County’s volleyball sideline, including that of head coach Molly Hill.
After a rough three weeks for the Wolverine program, a bright spot finally emerged.
Polk County made its Mountain Foothills 7 Conference debut in style, sweeping Chase 25-14, 25-18, 25-7 in a league clash at Polk.
A convincing August 24 home victory over Tuscola had served as the Wolverines’ most recent win. Two weeks of quarantine due to COVID-19 protocols followed that triumph before Polk returned to the court with losses to Asheville Christian Academy and West Henderson, two of the area’s top programs.
So, finally a chance to exhale for the Wolverines? Absolutely.
“I saw some really good stuff and I saw them having fun,” Hill said. “It’s a great way to start off our conference schedule. That sets the tone for how our conference matches should be.”
Chase (4-7, 0-4) kept pace with Polk (3-5, 1-0) for the first half of the first set, but the Wolverines turned a 14-12 lead into a set win with 11 of the final 13 points. Morgan Yoder had a pair of kills during the run and Elysia Smith, Sophia Overholt and Elena Carroll also added kills.
Three Mia Bradley kills helped the Wolverines grab a 7-4 lead in the second set. The advantage stood at 15-8 when Polk got another kill from Bradley, a Sophia Overholt ace, an Annslee Kilgore service winner and a Kinsley Huskey block to spark a run that led to a 22-9 lead. Chase briefly rallied late in the set before a service error gave the Wolverines the winning point.
Polk scored the first five points of the third set and raced away to close the match.
Bradley finished with 11 kills for the Wolverines, with Yoder adding eight and Overholt and Carroll each finishing with seven. Overholt also had seven digs.
Amberlyn Scruggs and Zaelea Eller each finished with 16 assists, with Eller adding six digs. Ella Waldman finished with seven digs.
Polk County continues conference play on Thursday, traveling to East Rutherford for a 5 p.m. match that is scheduled to be shown on the NFHS Network.