Schedule in pencil for unbeaten Ely

by Tom Coombe
For the Ely Timberwolves, scheduling has at instances been literally one day at a time.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the high school volleyball team has already dealt with a rash of postponements, cancelled or moved dates and substitute opponents, as well as a long layoff.
Friday night, the unbeaten Wolves were set to travel to Carlton for their first match in eight days, and to kick off a late-season stretch that will include six matches in a span of a week-and-a-half.
That’s the COVID-related reality for the Wolves, who have been largely spared from disruptions in their own lineup but have watched as a series of opponents have had to cancel or delay contests.
The Wolves host Northeast Range at 7 p.m. Monday, then travel to Bigfork Thursday and North Woods the following day as they wind down a late-starting regular season.
Two more regular season matches follow the next week with Section 7A playoff action to begin Nov. 30.
As of Wednesday, Ely (8-0) is ranked third in the north half of the section - and rated behind only Greenway (8-0) and Chisholm (7-1). Neither of those teams are on Ely’s regular season schedule.
It’s almost certain that the Wolves will host one, and perhaps two, 7A playoff tilts the week of Nov. 30.
• After seven straight sweeps, Ely lost its first set but still came away with a Nov. 5 victory at Mesabi East.
Senior McKenna Coughlin led the way with 14 kills, eight digs and six ace serves in a 25-12, 16-25, 25-17, 25-21 win.
The Wolves had defeated the Giants in Ely just seven days earlier, but both teams lost opponents because of the pandemic and agreed to the rematch at Aurora.
Ely got off to a strong start but the Giants turned the tables in the second set.
Facing adversity for the first time all season, the Wolves responded in the next two sets, pulling out the fourth by only four points.
Junior setter Katrina Seliskar delivered the ball en route to a match-high 39 set assists, and classmate Raven Sainio hammered home eight kills.
Another junior, Kellen Thomas, chipped in with eight kills and three blocks, while Madeline Kallberg had 10 digs to go with four ace serves.
Sophomore Rachel Coughlin came up with eight kills and 12 digs and her sister Kate notched three aces to go with eight digs.