EVELETH — The Cherry Tigers volleyball team shook off a rough start against Eveleth-Gilbert on Tuesday night.
The Tigers came back to win in the opening game and then won games two and three to top the Golden Bears, 25-19, 25-22, 25-16.
“We sure didn’t get off to a good start tonight,” Tigers coach LeAnn Adkisson said. “It almost looked like we weren’t ready to play.”
In the opening game senior Ashley Pionk started serving for the Golden Bears and an ace and three other quick points gave Eveleth-Gilbert a 4-0 lead.
The Tigers started to come back strong at the net and the next thing you know, it was an 8-7 game, following a pair of Kaelynn Kudis kills.
The teams traded points until it was a 16-16 contest and Cherry grabbed a lead that they wouln’t give up the rest of the game.
A big Kudis block made it 19-16, forcing Golden Bears coach Beth Bittmann to take a time out.
“I took that time out to just try to settle them down,” Bittmann said. “I told them that we were right in the game and just had to settle down a little out there.”
The Golden Bears picked up a point to make it a three point game, but that was as close as they would get as Kudis and Katie Peterson put the ball away at the net to give the Tigers the 25-19 first game win.
“It wasn’t a pretty game for us,” Adkisson said. “I think Eveleth-Gilbert might have caught us off guard and we knew that we had to play better.”
Game two was another back and forth affair.
Cherry had an early 3-1 lead until the Golden Bears raced back in o the game and took a 6-5 lead after an Emma Westby Kill.
The Tigers got the serve back and Kudis used a jump serve that seemed to throw the Golden Bears off.
The jump serves and Peterson at the net led the Tigers to a 10-6 lead.
Eveleth-Gilbert picked up four points to tie the game at 10-10 before the Tigers grabbed a 14-11 lead after a Peterson tip.
The Golden Bears were not going to just go away.
An Emma Westby kill had it at a two point game while the serving of Pionk gave the Golden Bears the lead at 17-15.
“We did come back nice,” Bittmann said. “We fell behind but just didn’t give up out there.”
The Golden Bears had a 20-18 lead but an Eveleth-Gilbert hitting error and an Oryann Trucano kill from Cherry tied the game at 20-20.
A Jessa Schroetter ace serve gave Cherry a 21-20 lead, forcing Brittmann to take a time out.
“It was like we panicked out there,” Bittmann said. “Against a team like Cherry, you just can’t do that.”
The Tigers picked up one more point on a Kudis block to make it a 22-20 game.
The Golden Bears got the serve back and with Westby serving and her front row playing solid defense, they tied the game at 22-22 before a Peterson kill and an Eveleth-Gilbert error ended the contest at 25-22.
Game three was all Cherry.
The Tigers raced out to an early 15-4 lead while the Golden Bears struggled to get going in the contest.
Cherry had an 18-9 lead on the strength of Peterson’s net work and Kudis’ serving.
The Golden Bears tried to get back in to the game but time just ran out and the Tigers ended the match with a 25-16 win.
Kudis led the Tigers with 16 kills, 5 ace serves, and 4 ace blocks.
Peterson collected 9 kills and Schroetter chipped in 8.
Lauren Staples had 25 set assiats.
Cherry will travel to play South Ridge on Friday.
“They will be a tough team to play,” Adkisson said. “We have to be ready to play from the start of game one.”
The Golden Bears are off until Monday, when they travel to Two Harbors.
Westby and Emily Kemp each had 5 kills to lead Eveleth-Gilbert, while Pionk had 7 digs.
Maggie Landwer led the way with 16 set assists.
Mountain Iron-Buhl 0
At Mountain Iron, the Ely Timberwolves brought out the brooms Tuesday night for a 3-0 (25-8, 25-10, 25-17) sweep of Mountain Iron-Buhl
Ely was led by Erika Mattson with 13 kills, 13 digs and four ace serves. McKenna Coughlin had 11 kills and six digs. Brielle Kallberg finished with seven kills and four blocks and McCartney Kaercher set the offense up with 33 set assists to go with her 16 digs.
For the Rangers, Morgan Dircks tallied nine digs and five kills. Miah Gellerstedt had 10 digs and a block. Skylar Mattila also finished with an ace block. Maleah Milton totaled six digs and two ace serves. Paris Pontinen had nine set assists while Hali Savela had four.
Mountain Iron-Buhl will close out the regular season Thursday when they host Littlefork-Big Falls. Ely will travel to Nashwauk-Keewatin that same day for a date with the Spartans.