ELY– With their playoff run on the line, Ely looked solid throughout their five-set match with Hill City. But a late injury and sudden nerves allowed the Hornets to come from behind to edge the …
ELY– With their playoff run on the line, Ely looked solid throughout their five-set match with Hill City. But a late injury and sudden nerves allowed the Hornets to come from behind to edge the Wolves 15-13 in the deciding set.
“The control of this match was up for grabs all night long and didn't end until the last whistle blew, unfortunately not in our favor,” said Ely Head Coach Andrea Thomas. “The loss is still sinking in.”
Neither team was going to be outworked or outhustled in this match. Bodies were on the floor and in the stands chasing down every ball as they tried to put points on the board.
“I'm so proud of these girls – they fought all night long,” said Thomas. “We had our ups and downs but they continued to battle and that is all I could ask for.”
Ely came out and took the first set, 25 – 19, seemingly shaking off any pre-game jitters.
The Hornets made some adjustments in sets two and three and managed to win those sets 25 – 22 and 25 – 21.
“Hill City did a nice job of blocking us and we really had to work around the block,” said Thomas. “When we started blocking them, they started tipping and were able to find our holes at times.”
In the fourth set, the Wolves made some adjustments of their own and were able to win another close set 25 – 22.
The fifth and deciding set Ely came out on fire and took a 5 – 0 lead before the Hornets knew what happened. Hill City battled back, but when the Wolves lost setter Lida Dodge to injury, it seemed to deflate the rest of the team.
Offensively, the Wolves were led by a strong sophomore group that will have two more years playing together. Brielle Kallberg had 17 kills, 12 digs, and six blocks, followed by Erika Mattson with 13 kills and a team high 21 digs. Jenna Merhar had 10 kills while Winter Sainio had seven kills, along with four ace serves. Kalley Fischer, the lone senior, playing in her final match for Ely, added 11 digs. Lida Dodge had 42 set assists and 10 digs before leaving with an injury.
Ely had their best season in years and has no reason to hang their heads as they left everything they had on the court this whole season.
“This team had a tremendous season!” said Thomas. “Senior Kaley Fischer leaves big shoes to fill at the Libero position but it is exciting to know that we’ve got a good core returning.”