Virginia spikes Ely out of section playoffs

by Tom Coombe

Ely’s high school volleyball team wasn’t able to sustain some early momentum Wednesday night.<BR><BR>The Timberwolves beat Virginia in the first game of the Section 7AA playoff match at Coleraine, but the Blue Devils rebounded with a dominant effort on game two, turning the contest around and going on to win in four games.<BR><BR>Scores were 20-25, 25-9, 25-20, 25-17 as the Blue Devils advanced into the 7AA quarterfinals and a meeting with top-seeded Greenway.<BR><BR>The Wolves, who finished 12-13, looked like they might move on following a first-game performance that went in their favor.<BR><BR>The tide turned almost immediately, however, as Virginia relied on strong serves, good defense and a big night from setter Caitlin Stackpool - who had a match-high 30 assists - to turn things around.<BR><BR>“We played a really good first game,” said Ely Head Coach Mindy LaTourell. “Virginia really controlled the second game, and the third and fourth games were really tight. It was a good volleyball match. Virginia dug the ball pretty well, their setter had a nice game and they did a good job of getting their serves in and controlling momentum.”<BR><BR>Ely led at times in the third and fourth games, but Virginia rallied in each case.<BR><BR>Alyssa Noll and Ashley Bartoletti had seven kills apiece for the Blue Devils.<BR><BR>Senior Christa Streit led the Wolves, finishing with 11 kills.<BR><BR>Rafaela Cavalcante had 10 kills, and Jackie Lekatz finished with six kills, six ace serves and six digs.<BR><BR>Setter Barb Klun contributed 29 assists.<BR><BR>The loss ended an otherwise solid season for the Wolves, who finished at the .500 mark during the regular season and picked up six more wins than they did in 2003.<BR><BR>“I think it was a pretty successful season,” said LaTourell. “Consistency was something we tried to obtain throughout the season. We had some really nice matches and we saw as a team that we improved throughout the entire season, which was nice to see.”<BR><BR>• Tower-Soudan (26-1) advanced into the Section 7A quarterfinals with a three-game sweep of Lakeview Christian Academy Wednesday at Tower.<BR><BR>The Golden Eagles hosted AlBrook in the quarterfinals, and the semifinals (Thursday) and finals (Saturday) are set for this week in Hibbing.<BR><BR>