HIBBING— Ely’s impressive volleyball season came to an end here on Oct. 30 as Carlton proved the Timberwolves’ nemesis in the Section 7A finals for the second year in a row, winning three sets …
HIBBING— Ely’s impressive volleyball season came to an end here on Oct. 30 as Carlton proved the Timberwolves’ nemesis in the Section 7A finals for the second year in a row, winning three sets to one to advance to the section finals. The top-seeded Bulldogs took the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-11, before the Wolves rebounded to take set three 25-23.
“In set one, we came out with lots of energy and had a five-point lead that we let slip away from us,” said Ely Head Coach Andrea Thomas. “In set two we struggled to get anything going. Our passing was not on and we had a difficult time defensively. Set three we rallied and got back into our rhythm.”
But the Bulldogs’ defense proved relentless. “In set four, we were battling back the whole time, but we never gave up,” said Thomas. “Carlton plays incredible defense and they very rarely let the ball hit the floor. Just when you think you are going to score a point, that ball is in the air and coming back.”
Despite the loss, Ely players put up some impressive numbers. Junior McKenna Coughlin tallied 15 kills and 12 digs, while senior Brielle Kallberg posted ten kills, eight digs, and six blocks. Fellow senior Erika Mattson tallied nine kills and 19 digs, while setter McCartney Kaercher posted 35 assists and 17 digs.
While a close loss to the top-seed isn’t unexpected, it was a disappointment after Ely amassed its best regular season record ever best volleyball season ever, at 23-3. “It was definitely a tough loss,” said Thomas. “We really wanted to get to that next level, and especially difficult with all of the seniors on this team.”
Thomas was effusive in her praise for her team. “They really put in a lot of extra hours in the gym and the practice really paid off. They made amazing progress in the last year and I’m proud of their dedication and hard work. They have definitely raised the bar for teams to come.”