Wolves clip ’Hawks in four

Coughlin gets 10 aces, 10 kills in Ely’s season-opening victory

by Tom Coombe
Ely’s high school volleyball team overcame a second-game hiccup and took care of a local rival.
An impressive serving game and an assortment of hitters helped the Timberwolves overcome a stellar outing from Northeast Range sophomore Hannah Reichenserger as the hosts won the season-opener in four games.
Ely junior McKenna Coughlin had 10 ace serves to go with a team-high 10 kills in the Wolves’ 25-20, 23-25, 25-19, 25-8 victory.
On the heels of a 21-win season in 2018 and high hopes for the 2019 campaign, the Wolves had trouble with the determined Nighthawks early on.
Reichensperger, who led all hitters with 16 kills was a force at the net and kept her team close in the opener.
The Nighthawks bolted out to 16-8 and 22-16 leads in the second game and persevered after the Wolves rallied to tie it at 22.
The Nighthawks seemed to run out of steam after that, as many Wolves serves found the floor and an abundance of Ely hitters stepped up to contribute.
Coughlin, one of several returning starters for the Wolves, reached double digits in aces and Ely had several runs with her at serve.
Senior Erika Mattson also delivered five aces to go with seven kills, and classmate Jenna Merhar added five ace serves, five kills and three blocks.
Another highly-touted senior, returning all-area pick Brielle Kallberg, paced the Wolves’ defense with 12 digs and six blocks. She added five kills, as well.
Setting everything up was senior McCartney Kaercher, who passed her way to 25 assists.
Lara Poderzay had 19 set assists for Northeast Rnage, with teammates Jenna Smith (17 digs) and Mande Lenz (nine digs) also making the stat chart.
Ely has a tough week ahead to coincide with the start of the school year.
After a Tuesday visit to Littlefork-Big Falls, the Wolves are at Cherry Thursday in a rematch of last season’s Section 7A quarterfinal thriller.
The weekend brings a trip to Coleraine for the Sept. 7 Greenway Tournament.