VOLLEYBALL: Wolverines get defensive in playoff win over Rosman

Published 11:31 am Friday, October 27, 2023

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Bloodied, bruised, blemished – it’s how Polk County volleyball coach Molly Hill loves to see defense played.

Anything to keep balls off the floor, especially in the postseason.

The Wolverines played defense Thursday much as Hill prefers, keeping Rosman in check en route to a 3-0 victory over the visiting Tigers in a third-round 1A state playoff matchup.

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The 25-11, 25-14, 25-18 victory moves Polk County (25-2) into Saturday’s state quarterfinals, where the Wolverines will host Cherokee (24-3). Match time is to be announced.

The Braves undoubtedly will test Polk County’s defense much as Rosman (18-5) did. But the Wolverines proved more than up to the challenge, digging and blocking well, especially in the first two sets.

“We worked a lot yesterday on focusing our block,” Hill said. “In the back row, we’ve just been talking about staying disciplined, being in position and not letting anything hit the floor.

“I kind of joke, but I’m not joking. Knock into each other, get the floor burns, get the bruises, bloody noses. Mia (Bradley) got a bloody nose the other night diving on the floor. They know I’m kind of joking, but at the same time, they know I’m serious and I want to see that mentality, that drive to just not let it fall.”

Polk dominated the first two sets, the first ending with two Sophia Overholt kills in the final three points and the second opening with a 6-0 Wolverine run that set the tone for the set.

Rosman hung tough in the third set, though, leading 10-9 at one point. But kills by Ada Kelley and Overholt and a Morgan Yoder ace highlighted a 9-2 Polk run that gave the Wolverines an 18-12 lead.

Bradley had a pair of late kills and Yoder and Overholt each added one as the Wolverines steadily pulled away to close the match.

“We did great tonight,” Hill said. “We hope that we can continue to have big crowds. I feed off that and they feed off that, and then we can all just kind of use each other. It’s just exciting. It’s an exciting time.”

Overholt had 16 kills and 10 digs for Polk County, with Bradley and Yoder each adding six kills and Kelley finishing with five.

Zaelea Eller finished with 26 assists, with Charley Dusenbury adding 11. Kelley had 17 digs, with Elena Carroll recording 15 and Bradley posting 14.

Next up will be a Cherokee team that defeated Uwharrie Charter 3-1 on Thursday. The Braves have only lost to Franklin (3-1), Brevard (3-2) and West Henderson (3-2) this season and are riding a 16-match winning streak.

Freshman middle hitter Joscelyn Stamper leads the Braves, backed by junior Alexis Davis and seniors Coco Wells, Hermoine Ward and Creedon Arch.