Injuries can’t slow Wolves

by Tom Coombe
Even at less than full strength, the Ely Timberwolves are one of the most formidable teams in Section 7A.
That was evident earlier this week, as the high school volleyball team dominated two opponents even as it missed key players.
Senior standout Brielle Kallberg was out with an ankle injury for wins over Northeast Range and Lakeview Christian Academy, while fellow senior Jenna Merhar was also absent for Tuesday’s sweep of LCA.
The temporary absences did little to slow the Wolves, who got a boost each night from freshman Rachel Coughlin.
Coughlin had eight kills in both matches as the Wolves improved to 15-3 for the season.
“Offensively, Rachel started getting power behind her hits,” said Ely Head Coach Andrea Thomas.
The Wolves powered past Northeast Range Monday, winning 25-13, 25-6, 22-25, 25-12 at Babbitt.


Ely CC teams place second and third at chilly home meet

by Tom Coombe
Minus their leading runner, the Ely boys weren’t able to defend their championship at Tuesday’s Ely Invitational.
Senior Luke Olson did not compete in the annual home meet and the Ely boys settled for third place, just a point behind runner-up Eveleth-Gilbert and two back of Virginia, at the Ely Golf Course.
Freshman Zoe Devine’s fifth-place finish sparked the Ely girls team to a second-place showing, behind only International Falls.
The annual home event was held on an overcast day with prime running conditions, but chilly 40-degree temperatures that forced spectators to don an extra layer of clothing to stay warm.
Olson, who won a state track title during the spring and has a string of individual wins to his credit this fall, returned to Ely late Monday after a college visit and sat out the home meet.


Wolves show progress, but fall to South Ridge

by Tom Coombe
The Ely Timberwolves dropped their third straight game, but the Sept. 13 meeting with South Ridge was truly a sign of progress.
The Wolves trailed 8-6 at the half before falling 32-6 to the Panthers on a rainy Friday night at Ely School Stadium.
South Ridge (2-1) had a few anxious moments before finally putting the Wolves away.
Ely’s fans had a lot to cheer about early on, when the Wolves scored their first touchdown of the year - on special teams.
Sawyer Klingsporn scored his first varsity touchdown when a South Ridge punt snap went into the end zone.
The Ely junior pounced on it and the Wolves had their first lead of the year.
Logan Young, who was part of a multifaceted South Ridge ground game, scored from 10 yards out in the second quarter and Matt Clark’s two-point conversion gave the Panthers a two-point lead at the half.


No home court advantage

by Tom Coombe
Call them the Ely Road Warriors.
Since a season-opening win over Northeast Range, the high school volleyball team has played seven straight matches away from home - including Tuesday night’s sweep at Silver Bay.
The 25-16, 25-11, 25-9rout of the Mariners was moved to the North Shore because of the temporary closure of the high school gymnasium (see related story), and it appears that the Wolves won’t be back on their home court this month.
Home matches with North Woods (Thursday) and Duluth Marshall (Sept. 24) have been moved to the gymnasium at Vermilion Community College, and the Wolves have had to adjust to the circumstances.
“Not being able to be in our own gym has made this week a little stressful,” said Ely Head Coach Andrea Thomas. “We are very thankful that VCC is allowing us to use their gym, because there is no way that our JV and varsity squads could practice safely together in the small gym space.”


VCC, new coach debut with a ‘W’

by Tom Coombe
It didn’t take long - just one match to be exact - for the Vermilion Ironwomen to equal their win total from 2018.
The community college team made new head coach Nicki Kosik a winner in her Vermilion debut, as the Ironwomen stomped Northern Division rival Fond Du Lac in a lopsided sweep Wednesday night.
Sophomore Crystal Stignani had a whopping 18 aces in the 25-4, 25-7, 25-10 thrashing.
Vermilion made quick work of the visiting Thunder, taking care of business in less than an hour and serving notice that it could very well be a new era for Ironwomen volleyball.
The win was a milestone of sorts for an 11-member Vermilion squad that has been practicing since mid-August.


Wolves clip ’Hawks in four

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.


New-look VCC starts at home

by Tom Coombe
In many ways, the Vermilion Ironmen are starting over.
Second-year head coach Justin Kosik has revamped his coaching staff, retooled his roster and even started fresh with new uniforms for the 2019 season, which starts with today’s home title with two-time defending MCAC champion Northland, set for 1:30 p.m. at Ely School Stadium.
Only a handful of players are back from Kosik’s debut season,when the Ironmen suffered through a 1-7 campaign and dealt with injuries and roster turnover.
Depth doesn’t figure to be an issue this fall, with the Ironmen expected to suit up in excess of 60 players for the debut, including an array of new talent from Texas, Louisiana and Florida.
Kosik, a Texas native, also expects his team to take a new approach in 2019.


Watercross race held on Fall Lake

RIDING IT INTO THE WATER - Mindy Zappa of Cumberland, WI didn’t quite make it around the track on Fall Lake during the Ely Snowmobile Watercross event held last weekend. Photo by Chris Davey Photography.


Fall sports sign-up set for Monday

With the first practice sessions looming, it’s time for students at Ely Memorial High School to sign up for fall sports.
The annual fall sports sign-up meeting is slated for Monday, Aug. 5, starting at 6 p.m., in the high school gymnasium.
The meeting is open to parents and all students who plan to participate in football, volleyball, cross country, dance team or girls swimming this fall.
Coaches will be invited to address their players with information about first practices, and registration forms will be available to pick up and complete.
All students must have a physical examination on file in order to participate.
Once an examination is completed, it is effective for three years.
Parents with questions about whether their child’s examination is up-to-date are asked to contact athletic director Tom Coombe at (218) 235-1025 or


Junior Legion eliminated in two at substate

Ely’s Junior Legion baseball team could never get its offense warmed up on Sunday.
The result was two defeats and an early exit from the Northeast Substate Tournament, held at Esko.
Virginia’s Daniel Moore scattered six hits in a 6-2 first round win, while Ely was unable to solve Cherry’s Gavin Constantine later in the day, and the Tigers pulled away late for a 12-2, six-inning triumph.
The losses ended a difficult summer for the Junior Legion, which finished 3-11 overall.
Virginia plated two unearned runs in the bottom of the second, taking early control of the first round game, and Ely misfired on a couple of chances to score against Moore.
Losing pitcher Bryce Longwell worked five innings, giving up six runs - four were earned. He struck out four an allowed eight hits.
Reliever Jacob Towley pitched a scoreless inning.


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