Lisa Polcovich went with a senior-heavy rotation Thursday evening, with the eldest of her team paying the head coach back with a clean-swept, 3-0 win over the visiting Moore Lions in Deer Creek’s P.A.A.C.
Each of her five recorded multiple kills in the win. Teagan Polcovich led the way with 14 total, followed by Haley Houk’s 11, Mackenzie Manning’s four, Gabriella Ashley’s three, and Sloan Wedge’s two kills and five digs.
For the coach, she couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate her hard-working senior class.
“It means everything, honestly,” Polcovich said Thursday after the win. “These are kids that have been committed to us since the summer time. They knew their roles coming in, but that doesn’t always make it easy. To have an opportunity to have senior night where they get to go all three sets — it’s fun for us. You can see it in their faces, you can read it in their eyes. This was what they stuck the whole season out for.”
The senior-laden roster jumped on Moore early. They’d run on a 6-0 rally in the first set’s mid-game, before Haley Houk hammered a kill into the floor that tied things at 10 and forced the first of Moore’s Thursday timeouts. Manning was on serve for the run, and she’d finish the night with an ace from the backline, as well.
The Antlers took that momentum into a 25-22 first set win.
Deer Creek would keep rolling into the second and third set wins. Led in the second by Teagan Polcovich’s team-leading kills, the Antlers took the second 25-19. Unlike the first, the second set was never really in question of floating away from the Creek.
Coach Polcovich attributed that to the girls getting more comfortable in the new positions they were playing at for Thursday’s special senior night.
“We haven’t really practiced that rotation,” she said. “I had kids playing positions that they don’t normally play. That’s why it was a little discombobulated.”
If Creek was dominant in the second, then they were destructive in the third, jumping out to a near double-digit advantage in the match-deciding frame before closing out their 21st win of the season. They did so behind a big set from Haley Houk, who capped a handful of kills from the left side of the floor with back-to-back aces.
For Polcovich, Houk’s stand-out final set was the perfect character arc in a player that she’s watched grow and improve across the years.
“That kid has come on so strong,” she said. “From her freshman year to how she is as a player now mentally and physically — she’s huge for us.”
Houk had three total aces in Thursday’s contest, alongside her 11 kills and 11 digs.
Cami Turner and Madison Manning had the most burn outside of the seniors Thursday, with Turner assisting on 32 of Deer Creek’s 34 total set assists in the win. Madison Manning, playing at libero, recorded 13 digs.