HIBBING— Ely’s impressive Section 7A playoff run met the hard reality of the Carlton volleyball juggernaut last Wednesday, as the Bulldogs dominated in a straight-set victory, 25-12, 25-16, and …
HIBBING— Ely’s impressive Section 7A playoff run met the hard reality of the Carlton volleyball juggernaut last Wednesday, as the Bulldogs dominated in a straight-set victory, 25-12, 25-16, and 25-18 in the semi-final round. On Saturday, the top-seeded Bulldogs did it again, this time to Deer River, as they claimed the section title in three straight, 25-15, 25-19, and 25-9.
The Bulldogs were 26-2 coming into last Wednesday’s contest with the Timberwolves, and were undefeated on the season in three-game matches, since their only losses (both narrow, and to much larger schools) came in weekend tournament play.
The Wolves had their moments against the Bulldogs, but Carlton combined strong hitting with well-placed tips to keep the pressure on.
“The first two sets, we struggled with our serve receive,” said Head Coach Andrea Thomas. “That, in turn, limited our offense and our stats definitely reflect that. Carlton is a smart team that sees the floor well. They found our holes and tipped the ball there and we had a hard time defensively getting those balls up. We had a little spark in set three, but couldn’t keep the momentum on our side.”
Despite the loss, it was the furthest that Ely has ever gone in the section tournament and with only two players, setter Lida Dodge and right hitter Kenzie Peterson, set to graduate on the junior-heavy squad, Head Coach Andrea Thomas is hopeful about next year’s prospects. “It was difficult to end this way, but these girls had a great season and a lot to be proud of.”
As she has done all season, junior Brielle Kallberg put up strong numbers for the Wolves, with 11 kills, 10 digs, and three blocks, while sophomore McKenna Coughlin posted seven digs and three kills. Junior Erika Mattson tallied nine digs from the back court, while senior Lida Dodge posted six set assists and five digs. Junior McCartney Kaercher put up six set assists and two ace serves.