BABBITT— A promising North Woods start withered under the relentless hammering of Northeast Range ace Hannah Reichensperger on Tuesday as the home Nighthawks defeated the Grizzlies volleyball …
BABBITT— A promising North Woods start withered under the relentless hammering of Northeast Range ace Hannah Reichensperger on Tuesday as the home Nighthawks defeated the Grizzlies volleyball team 3-1.
In a close match where two of the four games were decided by a total of four points, Reichensperger made the difference. Her 27 kills more than doubled those of the top Grizzlies Morgan Burnett and Hannah Kinsey, who each had 11.
After relinquishing a 5-3 lead in the opening game the Grizzlies kept within one or two points of the Nighthawks, knotting the score for a fourth time at 14-14. But NER pulled ahead 23-18 before Zoe Trip got a key block to stall their advance, and Addy Hartway staved off a game-winning point at 24-20 by finding a hole in the NER defense with a push shot.
With Trip serving, the Grizzlies retook the lead 25-24, but Reichensperger crossed up the North Woods blockers with a little lift shot for a 25-25 tie. Burnett fired back with consecutive kills to seal the come-from-behind 27-25 win for the Grizzlies.
The second game was just as tight, with two critical officiating calls going against the Grizzlies. The first took a lengthy conference at the scorer’s table to resolve, with North Woods losing a point when the officials agreed with the scorer that the Grizzlies were serving out of order. A second controversial call came when Victoria Olson nailed a kill to tie the score at 19-19. The shot was ruled in initially, but after another conference the ruling was reversed, giving Northeast Range a 20-18 lead.
The reversals seemed to sap the energy out of the Grizzlies, as the Nighthawks went on a 5-1 run to close out a 25-19 win.
Determined to shake it off, the Grizzlies made the third game another nail-biter. It didn’t appear that way when the Nighthawks reeled off an 8-1 streak to forge an 18-10 lead, and prospects for a comeback still looked bleak minutes later at 22-15.
But with Kinsey scoring twice at the net and Burnett serving, North Woods closed the gap to 22-19 and pulled into a 23-23 tie on scores by Trip and Kinsey. The rally came up short when Richensperger nailed consecutive kills to end the game 25-23 and give the Nighthawks a 2-1 advantage going into the fourth game.
Northeast Range came out hot in game four, grabbing an 8-2 lead, then going on a scorching 9-2 run to take a commanding 20-10 advantage. The Grizzlies would get no closer, losing the game and the match 25-15.
A busy schedule was awaiting the Grizzlies this week with home contests on Wednesday against Cherry, Thursday against Silver Lake, and a Parents Night tilt Friday against Ely. North Woods is scheduled to be back in action next Monday on the road at Nashwauk-Keewatin.
UPDATE: Silver Lake cancelled Thursday's match, but the Grizzlies scheduled a rematch with Northeast Range for the same day. Due to Gov. Tim Walz's executive order pausing organized youth sports beginning Saturday, the Nashwauk-Keewatin contest will not be played.