Devils spike Agates in opener

Virginia's Kaylee Iverson and Alosha Ranum team up for a block at the net during Tuesday night's home game against Two Harbors.

VIRGINIA — Some of the Virginia players may have been a bit nervous going into Tuesday’s season opener against Two Harbors at the Roosevelt Gymnasium.

However, the Blue Devils didn’t show it as they rolled past the Agates, 3-0 (25-4, 25-12, 25-17).

“It was a good first game to kind of get out the jitters,’’ head coach Crystal Nucech-Duesler said. “I know a couple of the girls were relly nervous beforehand’’ with Tuesday being the first game and the team getting used to a different lineup.

“Once they got going, they played really well the first game,’’ Nucech-Duesler said. “The second game we had a couple missed serves and hitting errors, but then they found their groove.’’

She said there were too many unforced errors in the third game, but she was still pleased with her team’s performance.

“Overall it was a good match for the start of the season.’’

Virginia was definitely on fire out of the gate as they got off to a 8-0 lead behind two kills each from Lexiss Trygg and Rian Aune.

The Blue Devils were basically only beating themselves in game one with a couple of unforced errors. However, Trygg continued to dominate the middle, while Alli Anderson, Emily Hejny, Kaylee Iverson and Alosha Ranum were all scoring points.

Two Harbors held the lead early in game two before Taia Grishaber, Trygg and Hejny helped the home team retake the lead at 7-5.

Virginia’s hitting remained solid, but their serving really took center stage as Trygg scored four straight and Grishaber closed out the match with the final two to win the game, 25-12.

“I think overall tonight we served very well,’’ Nucech-Duesler said of the team’s 28 total aces. “They did very well hitting their serving zones.’’

Game three was a bit more of a battle as Virginia let down. However, the Devils shook off their troubles thanks to big point-scoring hits from Hejny, Iverson, Trygg and Elsie Hyppa. The effort led to a 25-17 match-sealing win in game three.

“We came out kind of flat but we were able to pick it up and close it out,’’ the coach said.

Another key to the victory was a good night from the team’s setters.

“Alli and Macy (Westby) did a nice job setting tonight,’’ Nucech-Duesler said. “We spread the ball around all night. That’s good to see that everyone’s contributing.’’

Despite the shutout, Nucech-Duesler said her team will have to continue to work on serve receive.

“I did tell the girls at the beginning of the season your weakness is serve receive. If you can’t pass the ball’’ you can’t run the offense very well. “Passing is the No. 1 thing we have to work on all season.’’

She added that the Devils (1-0) will have to step it up on Thursday against Duluth Denfeld. Virginia hosts the Hunters at 5 p.m.

“We need to keep improving every game and be ready. Stay with the intensity from the first point to the last point.’’

Chisholm 3,

Eveleth-Gilbert 1

At Eveleth, Emma Westby led the Golden Bears with 10 kills and six digs Tuesday, but it wasn’t quite enough as Chisholm downed Eveleth-Gilbert, 3-1 (25-13, 25-15, 18-25, 25-17).

E-G also got eight kills and three blocks from Emily Kemp and 14 set assists from Maggie Landwer.

Despite the loss, first-year head coach Beth Bittmann said her girls played really hard against a nice Chisholm team.

“Our serving was really on tonight,’’ according to Bittmann, who said the team’s passing was better than their first game last week.

The Bears did have trouble with junior middle hitter Abby Thompson, though.

“We didn’t stop their big hitter in the middle front (Thompson) and that killed us.’’

In addition, “we got beat in the middle by tips,’’ which is something they will be working on in practice.

E-G plays at Hill City on Thursday.

Mesabi East 3,

Hibbing 1

At Aurora, Lindsey Baribeau pounded out 16 kills and blocked four shots, while Mia Mattfield added 15 kills and two blocks for Mesabi East in a 3-1 (24-26, 25-20, 25-17, 25-17) home victory over Hibbing.

Meanwhile, Emma Baker engineered the strong showing with 46 set assists.

The team effort was also aided by Autumn Gregorich with 14 digs, Steph Zimmer with 13 digs and Meghan Walker with nine kills and four ace serves.

Head coach Sara Baribeau said her club started out the match with some first-game jitters, but rebounded to lose game one, 26-24.

After that, she said here team decided it was willing to put in the work to take the rest of the games. “We just built momentum ... and things just started to go right.’’

The Giants’ serve receive, which has been troublesome in the past, was solid Tuesday night. The girls kept their first touches in control, which helped create a better offense, the coach said. Serving was also aggressive, she added, which kept Hibbing on its heels.

Hibbing was led by Bella Scaia with 22 digs, Zoe Kriske with 19 set assists, Justyne Orazem with seven kills and Bailey Broker with five blocks.

Mesabi East plays at Lakeview Christian on Thursday.

Ely 3,

Northeast Range 1

At Ely, McKenna Coughlin and McCartney Kaercher each had stellar nights to help lead the Timberwolves past Northeast Range, 3-1 (25-20, 23-25, 25-19, 25-8).

Coughlin put down 10 kills and added 10 ace serves, while Kaercher recorded 25 set assists and served up five aces.

Brielle Kallberg scored 12 digs, six blocks and five kills, Erika Mattson put down seven kills and had five ace serves and Jenna Merhar added five kills, five ace serves and three blocks.

For the Nighthawks, Hannah Reichensperger paced the squad with 16 kills and eight blocks, Lara Poderzay tallied 19 set assists, Jenna Smith came up with 17 digs and Mande Lenz dug up nine volleyballs.

North Woods 3,

International Falls 2

At International Falls, the Grizzlies played with great energy and good team chemistry Tuesday night to down the Broncos, 3-2 (22-25, 25-16, 22-25, 26-24, 15-11).

“It was a great night,’’ said head coach Kandi Olson, who was pleased with her team’s effort one day after falling in Mountain Iron Monday, 3-1.

On the court, Coley Olson came away with 12 kills, Karlyn Pierce added 10 kills and five blocks and Kayla Tschida scored seven more. Morgan Burnett served as the floor general with 12 set assists and five ace serves, Kenzie Fox served up six aces and Hannah Kinsey added five blocks.

North Woods (1-1) hosts Bigfork on Tuesday.


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