ELY— The Nighthawks fell just six points short of handing the Timberwolves their first match loss of the season here on Monday. But Ely rallied in the final set to take the five-game contest …
ELY— The Nighthawks fell just six points short of handing the Timberwolves their first match loss of the season here on Monday. But Ely rallied in the final set to take the five-game contest and keep their perfect season intact at 10-0.
“After a strong start in set one, we struggled to gain momentum early on in the following sets,” said Ely Head Coach Andrea Thomas.
The Nighthawks fell to 4-5 with the heartbreaking loss.
The Wolves had little trouble in the first and second sets, winning 25-13 and 25-15 respectively, even though they trailed early in the second set. By the third set, it was Northeast Range who seemed to grab the momentum, behind the powerful play of junior Hannah Reichensperger, who notched 17 kills and 11 blocks in the contest. The Nighthawks took the third set 25-20 and dominated the fourth set 25-16, before the Wolves battled back in the final set to win 15-9.
“There is definitely some room for improvement in our play,” said Thomas.
Even so, several Ely players put up impressive stats in the marathon match. Sophomore Rachel Coughlin posted 17 kills, ten digs, and two ace serves while senior McKenna Coughlin added 14 kills, 11 digs, and two aces. Junior Kellen Thomas posted nine kills, 13 digs, and three blocked shots while classmate Raven Sainio added seven kills. Sophomore Madeline Kallberg filled in as setter, tallying 43 assists along with six digs.
For NER, Reichensperger added 14 digs to her kill and block stats, while Erin Backe posted 14 digs of her own. Maizy Sundblad tallied 24 set assists. Head Coach Jodi Rogers-Reichensperger said some tweaks to the line-up after the first two sets made the difference. “I could not be more proud of these girls,” she said. “The improvements made in this shortened season have been great. I just wish that we were able to have the experience of a traditional season.”
Ely tops Bulldogs
Ely’s close call came on the heels of a more-typical three-game sweep of Carlton. “This was definitely a feel-good win for us,” said Thomas. “It was our first win against Carlton after losing to them the last two years in section playoffs.”
The Wolves rolled over the Bulldogs this time, 25-17, 25-13, and 25-20. “The girls played with a lot of hustle and played aggressively, offensively and defensively.”
McKenna Coughlin put up strong stats, notching ten kills and nine digs, while Thomas added nine kills, eight digs, and three blocks. Rachel Coughlin tallied 11 kills and three ace serves, while Kate Coughlin posted seven aces.
Kallberg added 32 set assists.
Ely was set to close out its pandemic-shortened season with a busy schedule, although media reports on Wednesday suggested that Gov. Tim Walz was likely to impose a halt on sports events in the state in an effort to address the sharp spike in coronavirus infections in recent days. If sports are allowed to continue, the Wolves will head to North Woods on Friday and will host MI-B on Monday before wrapping up their season on Tuesday against Lakeview Christian Academy.