BURNSVILLE— The Timberwolves put their perfect season record to the ultimate test here this past weekend when they faced off against a bevy of the toughest volleyball squads in the state— …
BURNSVILLE— The Timberwolves put their perfect season record to the ultimate test here this past weekend when they faced off against a bevy of the toughest volleyball squads in the state— and proved competitive if far from dominant.
The Wolves made the trip without one of their top hitters in the lineup, as senior Hannah Penke rolled her ankle during practice the night before. Her absence forced the Wolves from their usual 6-2 offense to a 5-1 at the last minute. While Head Coach Megan Wognum said the team did a great job of adjusting, Penke’s presence could well have made the difference in many of the weekend’s close matches.
As it was, the Wolves dropped all five matches in the weekend’s action but had several close sets playing against several of the top-seeded Class A teams in the state, including first-ranked Minneota, which topped the Wolves 25-16, 25-21. Against fourth-ranked Kenyon-Wanamingo, they slipped 16-25, 27-25 and fell to 15th-ranked Spring Grove 25-14, 25-23.
They fell 25-9, 25-21 to Bethlehem Academy, ranked fifth in Class A by the Star Tribune, and took one of three sets against 20th-ranked Kittson County Central.
“Overall, I am so proud of how we battled,” said Wognum. “This past weekend taught us how to persevere and push through a tough situation and adjust when needed. We gave some of the teams there a pretty good run. It makes me incredibly excited for the future for our team.”
With Penke out of the lineup, much of the net work was left to Ely junior Lilli Rechichi, who posted 49 kills, along with 44 digs, in the five matches played Friday and Saturday. Freshman Audrey Kallberg, who has been showing increasing promise all season, pitched in with 19 kills and 30 digs over the weekend, while senior setter Sarah Visser tallied 84 assists.
Ely tops Duluth Marshall
Playing back in Ely on Tuesday, the Wolves got back to their winning ways against Section 7 competition, easily outpacing the Hilltoppers after a grueling opening set, winning 30-28, 25-9, and 25.12, again without Hannah Penke in the lineup.
Audrey Kallberg stepped up to fill her shoes on Tuesday, pounding out 11 kills and 17 digs to lead the team on the stats board. Clare Thomas had a strong outing as well, posting nine kills and seven digs.
Sarah Visser posted 30 assists, eight digs, and five ace serves while Lilli Rechichi added ten kills.
The Wolves have the weekend off before heading to Babbitt to take on Northeast Range. They’ll host 11-2 North Woods on Tuesday in what looks to be the big matchup of the week in Section 7.