Nighthawks upset Ely in five

UP HIGH and over the net for Ely’s Brielle Kallberg against Northeast Range. Photos by Eric Sherman.

by Tom Coombe -

The Northeast Range Nighthawks seized momentum at just the right time Tuesday night.
Northeast Range won the first two games of its season-opening high school volleyball match with visiting Ely while the Timberwolves countered and won games three and four.
In the deciding fifth game, it was Northeast Range that prevailed, breaking a 12-all deadlock with three straight points and pulling out a 25-23, 25-22, 22-25, 20-25, 15-12 victory.
It was a huge victory for Northeast Range, which upset an Ely team that defeated the Nighthawks a year ago and is coming off a 19-win campaign.
The Nighthawks, who got 14 kills and nine blocks from freshman hitter Hannah Reichensperger, served notice that they may join the Wolves among the ranks of Section 7A contenders.
All five games were tightly-contested, with the Nighthawks eking out a win in the first game and capitalizing on serving errors and balls hit out of bounds in the second.
The deficit seemed to light a fire under the Wolves, who battled back to even the match.
Juniors Brielle Kallberg (12 kills), Jenna Merhar (nine) and Erika Mattson (eight) were potent at the net for the Wolves, while senior setter Lida Dodge worked the ball around en route to 22 set assists.
In the finale, Ely could never pull ahead as the Nighthawks got out to 3-0 and 9-7 leads.
After it was tied at nine, the Nighthawks jumped ahead 12-9 while Ely countered with three points of its own.
It set the stage for the finish and a Northeast Range win.
Lara Poderzay had a match-high 30 set assists for the winners, while Sophie Lenz hammered home 12 kills.
Chloe Aase contributed five kills and three blocks for Northeast Range, which visits Mt. Iron-Buhl Tuesday.
Ely, meanwhile looks to regroup in preparation for a big week ahead.
The Timberwolves make their home debut Tuesday night against Littlefork-Big Falls and follow up with a home matchup with Cherry on Thursday.
That leads up to the Greenway Tournament, slated for Saturday, Sept. 8.