The magic returned Friday for the Polk State College volleyball team.
The No. 16 Eagles (8-4) posted two victories Friday in the State College of Florida Tournament in Bradenton, topping Palm Beach State 3-1 in their morning match and stunning the host Manatees 3-0 later in the afternoon.
The Eagles started to feel "it" early Friday against the Panthers and dialed it up against the No. 19 Manatees (10-5), who topped them 3-0 last year in the NJCAA Region 8 tournament, with a 25-16, 25-16, 26-24 victory over their Suncoast Conference foes on their own floor.
While the victory did not count in the Suncoast standings, it was still a significant win for the Eagles who got a balanced attack, especially from their freshmen, while one of their stronger players, sophomore Diannmarie Rivera-Romero, competed sparingly due to a sore knee.
Coach German Del Valle was pleased after watching the team play up and down in its last few matches.
"It's good to win by playing well," he said. "This is the team that played in Iowa. We haven't seen that team."
Over the past three days of practice, the Eagles have returned to the form that saw them upset No. 6 Salt Lake Community College in Iowa.
"They've been pursuing the ball," Del Valle said. "We've been disciplined. This game made them believe they are a good team."
Polk topped Palm Beach 25-23, 23-25, 25-16, 25-22.
Eagle freshmen Shatorreia Edgecombe (Dame) led the attack with 18 kills. Rivera-Romero (Puerto Rico) tallied 19 digs, 13 kills and two aces.
Sophomore Cheye-Ann Savage (Hudson) posted eight kills.
Freshman middle blocker Liz Garcia (Idaho) chipped in seven kills and three blocks.
It was Garcia, Savage and freshman Genesis Castillo (Puerto Rico) who stood out against State College of Florida.
"Their middles are awesome," Del Valle said of the Manatees. "We got into a battle with them. Genesis got a big block against their best player. Cheye-Anne and Liz were in there."
Garcia posted eight kills, five blocks and two aces against the Manatees. Savage registered six kills and three blocks.
Freshman outside hitter Ana Karine-Cavalcante (Brazil) tallied her best match of the season with 14 kills, seven digs and three aces.
Edgecombe notched nine kills and sophomore setter Ashley Toth (Edgewater) posted 37 assists, and 54 against Palm Beach.
Freshman libero Yara Morales (Puerto Rico), freshman middle blocker Luaztani Turbi (Dominican Republic), freshman libero Rossanna Rosado (Puerto Rico) and sophomore Ashley Hass (Lyman) also contributed significantly.
The Eagles face Ave Maria University Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and Odessa College (Texas) at 3:30 p.m.