Big-school opposition; Red-hot Ely gets set to meet volleyball powers in Virginia

by Tom Coombe -

Ely’s high school volleyball team picked up two more wins this week, but some daunting tests await the Timberwolves.
This weekend’s Virginia Tournament provides the stiffest opposition yet for the Wolves, who swept Class AA International Falls Tuesday night to improve to 7-2 for the season.
Ely, a Class A school, faces two formidable larger-school opponents, including Class AAA Blaine, during pool play Saturday at Virginia.
The Wolves tangle with the Twin Cities suburban power as well as Cloquet in their first two matchups in the 12-team, single-day tournament.
Both matches figure to pose as significant challenges for the Wolves, who have won seven of eight matches since a season-opening defeat to Northeast Range.
The only blemish since has come against Class AA Greenway, but the Wolves had no problems with another Class AA team - International Falls - in this week’s home affair.
The Wolves got off to a strong start in the opener and never looked back in a 25-18, 25-20, 25-19 Arrowhead Conference romp.
Ely has employed a two-setter system for much of the season and it paid dividends against the winless Broncos.
Senior Lida Dodge passed her way to 15 set assists while junior McCartney Kaercher reached double digits with 10.
At the net, junior Brielle Kallberg continued to terrorize foes with her monster hits.
Kallberg led all hitters with 13 kills and fellow junior Jenna Merhar added five.
Erika Mattson paced the Ely defense with 15 digs and the junior added four ace serves and three kills.
Tenneyson Amdahl and Chloe Sullivan both had five kills for International Falls, which lost to Ely for the second time this fall.
In a Sept. 13 home contest, Kallberg had 12 kills and six blocks to lead the way in a 25-18, 25-12, 25-22 sweep of Mesabi East.
Merhar had seven kills and Mattson finished with four, while Dodge and Kaercher combined for 24 set assists.
The Wolves won’t have much time to rest after their four matches Saturday in Virginia. They’re back on the road Tuesday at Duluth Marshall.