As Polk County’s immediate volleyball past watched Tuesday, its present continued to sort out its replacement approach.
Recent graduates Reagan Waddell, Kendall Hall and Lauren Ketwitz were among those who watched in a steamy Polk gym as the Wolverines dropped their home opener, falling 3-1 to Tuscola in a non-conference match.
The Mountaineers opened their season with a 25-21, 19-25, 25-17, 25-21 victory, dropping Polk County to 0-2. The Wolverines travel Wednesday to Pisgah for the next step in a tough early-season schedule.
Polk County head coach Molly Hill is playing a number of lineup combinations as she looks to blend new faces and returnees in new places, so the 0-2 start against two larger schools hasn’t proven a complete shock.
That makes it no less frustrating, though.
“Last night (a 3-1 loss at Enka) lit a fire in me, and I was hoping the gitls would come out and be super aggressive,” Hill said. “We’re still in that ‘all this is new’ phase, and we’re a little timid.
“This is a good learning experience for them. The girls know that this is going to be difficult. I’ve set up our schedule for this to be difficult. We just need to find our confidence and find our ‘click’ and start to be play better as a team.”
Tuscola led throughout the first set, only to see Polk County rally within a couple of points late before the Mountaineers claimed the win. The second set flipped that script, with the Wolverines racing to a 7-0 lead and surviving a mid-set Tuscola rally.
The crucial third set proved close throughout, with Sydney Waldman’s serving helping lead Polk back from a small deficit to tie the match at 13-13. But Tuscola put together 10 straight points then to take command and pull away for a 2-1 lead.
The two teams battled throughout the fourth set, with back-to-back kills by Polk’s Marilyn Castillo and Grace Lauer making it 16-16. The Mountaineers scored five of the next six points, though, and held on to end the match.
Lauer had 12 kills and Kristen Hall had 11 kills and 10 digs for Polk County, which also got 34 digs from Ansley Lynch and 13 digs and 33 assists from Waldman. Meadow Becker had four kills and three digs with Mireya Roman and Marissa Twitty each adding three kills.