Expectations again high for Polk County volleyball

Published 3:13 pm Monday, August 15, 2016

Senior Addie Lynch will be a key part of Polk County’s attack this season.

Senior Addie Lynch will be a key part of Polk County’s attack this season.

Back-to-back conference championships in her first two seasons at Polk County haven’t left head coach Molly Hill resting on her laurels entering the 2016 season.

If anything, the early success has given Hill reason to set higher goals for the upcoming season. Seven returning players may have something to do with that as well.

“I still have the same standards and expectations,” Hill said. “I’m really looking for a lot from this freshmen class, which had such good success last season. And with seven returning varsity players, I’ve got really high expectations.”

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Hill will again go with a varsity roster small in number – nine players – but large on experience and talent. Three all-Western Highlands Conference players return, heading a group that could potentially be even tougher offensively than last year’s’s 20-8 squad that reached the 2A state quarterfinals.

Key for the team, as was the case last season, may be how well Hill can replace a departed all-conference setter. Savannah Ross followed Kara Overholt last year and more than adequately guided Polk’s attack. With Ross graduating, Hill again spent the offseason focusing on the position.

“I worked with Lauren Ketwitz and Georgia Garrett last year, preparing them to be ready for this year,” Hill said. “They have both stepped up and done so well. We will be using both setters,  and I expect them to do well and continue to work hard.

“Sydney Waldman will be on the jayvees, but she has great hands. We have plenty of options for setter.”

Whoever fills the position will also have plenty of options when the Wolverines are attacking. All-WHC returnees junior Reagan Waddell and senior Addie Lynch lead a deep group of hitters that also includes senior Cameron Capozzi, sophomore Ansley Lynch and freshmen Mireya Roman and Grace Lauer. They’ll be looking to help replace the void left by the team’s other graduate last year, Ashley Love.

“I’ve pulled up Mireya Roman and Grace Lauer,” Hill said of two members of last year’s Blue Ridge Middle School Conference champions. “With them we definitely have some height we didn’t have last year or the year before.

“Ashley was our main dominant hitter. I’m looking to our other hitters this year to get more involved. I want us to spread things around and not be dependent upon one or two hitters.”

Continuing to anchor Polk County’s defense will be junior libero Kendall Hall, who enters the season with 1,199 career digs as a two-time all-conference selection as well as a second-team all-Western North Carolina pick last year.

“She is healthy and doing great,” Hill said of Hall. “I am looking for big things out of her.”

Polk County is expected to be in thick of the chase for the WHC title, with Hendersonville again a championship contender and a Mountain Heritage team led by senior standout Alex Boone also likely to be in the hunt. But in the team’s final season at the 2A level, Hill is ready for the action to begin, starting with the Aug. 17 home opener against Rosman.

“I’m really excited about this season,” Hill said. “I’m ready for the official games to begin and ready to see these girls in action.”

– article submitted by polksports.com