Much of Polk County’s home volleyball debut felt out of place.
A Friday night match. Limited number of fans in the stands. Bleachers emptied between junior varsity and varsity games for cleaning. Players, coaches and fans wearing masks.
One thing, though, felt tried and true – the Wolverines winning a home Western Highlands Conference match.
Polk County has lost just two home WHC games in Molly Hill’s seven seasons leading the program. Friday didn’t come close to adding to that streak as the Wolverines claimed a 3-0 victory over Madison.
Polk (5-0, 3-0) notched a 25-16, 25-11, 25-11 win over a Madison team (1-1, 1-1) still finding its footing. Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Madison didn’t play its first game of the season until Thursday.
The Wolverines also didn’t have their full lineup on hand, with senior outside hitter Marilyn Castillo sidelined, but largely dominated Friday’s match. The first set stayed close until the latter stages, when Polk pulled away and closed the set on a Kristen Hall kill. The final two sets were never close, with Polk grabbing early leads in each and never letting go.
“We’ve had to make adjustments on the fly with a few players out and injured and so on,” Hill said. “I feel really good about the people who have had to switch and be put in new roles and have played well. It’s very encouraging to see that.
“At times we were slow tonight and our energy wasn’t where it needed to be. But the good outweighed the bad. It’s been a long week and I think we’re all tired.”
Polk, who had road trips to Owen and Avery during the week and played its third match in four nights, got its third double-double of the week from Hall as the senior had 11 kills and 11 digs. Senior Marissa Twitty continued her solid early-season play in the middle with nine kills, four blocks, five digs and three aces.
Rollins Carter had 10 digs, with Ella Waldman adding eight and Belen Akers finishing with seven. Emmie McDowell had 21 assists for the Wolverines.
The Wolverines are back on the road on Tuesday, traveling to Mitchell, then head to Mountain Heritage on Thursday before a road trip on Dec. 15 to Madison. A three-match homestand will follow before Polk wraps its shortened season in early January.