MOUNTAIN IRON — The Rangers closed out the coronavirus-shortened 2020 volleyball season by picking up one last game with rival Cherry Friday.
Mountain Iron-Buhl came out on the short end of a 3-1 (25-18, 22-25, 25-16, 25-21) loss to the Tigers, but head coach Megan Preiner was pleased her squad got in their sixth and final game of the year.
Going into the game, Preiner said, “We told them to just come out and have fun and cherish their last moment with the two seniors (Paris Pontinen and Sidney Mattila) they played with.’’
Freshman Jordan Zubich led the way for MI-B with seven kills and four ace blocks, while Pontinen and freshman Hali Savela each tallied six set assists.
In addition, freshman Zoe Bialczak dug eight volleyballs, while sophomore Sage Ganyo came up with six. Freshman Gabby Lira chipped in with two ace serves.
Cherry stats were not available as this edition went to press.
Despite the loss, Preiner said her squad kept up with Cherry but just couldn’t get over the hump and put the games away.
Asked about the crazy season that ended Friday night due to Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order, which paused high school sports for four weeks, the head coach said she and her girls “made the most of it.
“It was important for the girls to have a senior volleyball season. … We were happy we got to play as much as we did.’’
While only getting to play six matches due in part to COVID-19 issues, “it was great to be able to have a season when it was looking like we weren’t going to have a season,’’ she added.
North Woods 2
At Cook, the Grizzlies gave undefeated Ely about all they could handle Friday before falling just short, 3-2 (20-25, 26-24, 25-23, 16-25, 6-15).
The match ended the season for both teams just a few hours before Gov. Tim Walz’s executive order pausing high school sports for four weeks went into effect.
The impending pause definitely had an impact on the North Woods gymnasium.
“There was just a feeling of the room that everyone was excited to be there for one last game,’’ said North Woods head coach Kandi Olson. “The girls were really happy to have another home game.’’
North Woods had a solid effort across the board with Morgan Burnett piling up 31 set assists and nine digs. In the hitting department, Zoe Trip, Hannah Kinsey and Addy Hartway all took advantage of that as they each topped 10 kills. Trip and Kinsey each had 11, while Hartway added 10. Also chippin in was Skyler Yernatich with 10 digs and seven kills.
Ely closed out the season at 12-0 as McKenna Coughlin paced the Timberwolves with 22 kills, 19 digs, five ace serves and four blocks. Rachel Coughlin put down 12 kills, while also tallying 19 digs, four blocks and three ace serves.
Also getting in on the action was Madeline Kallberg, who compiled 39 set assists and eight digs; Kellen Thomas with nine kills, eight digs, four blocks and four ace serves; and Annika Mattson with 29 digs. In addition, Kate Coughlin chipped in with 14 digs and five kills; and Raven Sainio recorded six digs.
While North Woods got in only eight games in the shortened season, Olson said, “every time we were able to play multiple games in a row, we saw a lot of growth in the team.’’
After the match, the girls just wanted to savor everything they had accomplished in the last few weeks.
“Nobody wanted to leave. It was such a weird but cool feeling that they were all just longing to stay,’’ Olson added. “These girls were just excited to take it all in.’’