Ironwomen struggle in division play

UP FOR THE BLOCK FOR VCC were Alexis Hughes (4) and Lauren Huchel (2). Photos by Eric Sherman

by Tom Coombe
The top teams in the Northern Division have run roughshod this week over the Vermilion Ironwomen.
Visiting Mesabi spoiled the community college volleyball team’s Homecoming Week clash, cruising Tuesday night to a 25-16, 25-14, 25-8 sweep.
The loss came after a difficult road swing that included three-game defeats to the other two leading contenders - Northland and Central Lakes.
Vermilion (1-11) remains winless in division play and has struggled since a Sept. 21, five-game victory over Gogebic.
It was all-Mesabi this week, as the Lady Norse improved to 6-2 in division play and rode a balanced hitting attack.
Haley Hansen had 10 kills while teammates Emily Berg and Montana Baker added nine each. Mikala Kowarsch directed traffic and dished out 27 set assists.
For the Ironwomen, freshman Lauren Huchek had six kills and threee digs while Elizabeth Hintze finished with a team-high nine set assists.
Maggie Isbell, the lone former Ely Timberwolf on the VCC roster, had a kill and eight digs.
The middle game was close Sept. 28 but host Northland prevailed 25-13, 25-20, 25-12.
Huchel had eight kills and eight digs for the Ironwomen and teammate Elizabeth Rios notched four kills and seven digs.
Crystal Stignani delivered 12 set assists and five digs for VCC.
The Ironwomen were swept handily by Central Lakes the following afternoon, while Ridgewater also beat VCC 25-6, 25-9, 25-19 in non-division action Saturday at Brainerd.
Huchel led Vermilion with four kills, and Rios contributed three kills and five digs. Hintze netted nine set assists.
Easily the highlight of the Ironwomen’s season was the 27-25, 25-17, 22-25, 25-27, 15-8 marathon with Gogebic.
Vermilion weathered Gogebic’s comeback and countered with a dominant effort in the deciding game.
Stignani was everywhere on the floor for the Ironwomen, finishing with a match-high 38 set assists.
At the net, Huchel hammered home 19 kills and sparked the VCC defense with 10 digs.
Rios had nine kills, eight ace serves and 14 digs, and Alexis Hughes came up with four kills and five digs.
VCC continues its homestand Saturday with a noon matchup with Northland.