Gary Giombetti

Hibbing Daily Tribune

HIBBING — The Hibbing Community College volleyball team was only one game into their Northern Division schedule, but the Cardinals fell in five games to Mesabi Range.

Hibbing wanted to get into the win column in match No. 2, and that’s exactly what it did as the Cardinals took down Vermilion 3-0. 25-21, 25-9, 25-16 Wednesday at Cardinal Gymnasium.

Hibbing coach Kasey Palmer said it felt good to get that first win out of the way.

“It was exciting,” Palmer said. “What we’ve been working on is their kind of lacking confidence due to not having wins, playing the southern teams, who play a lot faster game than the north.

“It was good for us to get that out of the way. Playing at your home gym always helps.”

Hibbing, according to Coach Kasey Palmer, has started slow in its first games, and that was the case again, but the Cardinals were able to hold on for the four-point win.

“We definitely had a lot of things we need to work on,” Palmer said. “We were quiet, so we need to work on more communication. We have been starting out slow in first games, so that was nothing new for us.

“We’re trying to work on getting off to faster starts right off the bat.”

The Cardinals didn’t have a problem with that in the second set, taking a 6-2 lead right away, then extending it to 14-4.

The Ironwomen never recovered from that as Hibbing won by 16.

“We knew what we needed to work on,” Palmer said. “Communication was a big thing in the first set. Vermilion was a lot louder than we were in our home. We wanted to come out and change that, and showing whose home-court advantage it actually was.”

After playing so well in game two, Palmer wanted to avoid a letdown in the third set.

Vermilion started a little quicker, but the Cardinals took a 5-2 lead. It was tied 8-8 and 9-9, but after an ace by Athena Dunham, Hibbing took a 10-9 lead.

The closest the Ironwomen got after that was 15-14, but the Cardinals went on a 9-0 run to make it 24-14.

Vermilion won one more point, but an unforced error gave the Cardinals the game, set and match.

“We were working on making sure that we’re keeping our passes close, so we could set,” Palmer said. “We were hitting well, so we wanted to stay aggressive, and keep attacking them.”

Hibbing was led in kills by Kylah Lind with 10. She also had two blocks. Sophie Howard had nine kills, three aces and six digs. Dunham had five kills, as did Kaylyn Bowen. Breeze Bergland had 23 assists.

“I was happy with our net play,” Palmer said. “We hit well. We blocked well. We knew that their outside was a big hitter. If we could take her out of the game, blocking-wise, it would help us defensively.

“That’s what we did.”

Hibbing’s next game is at home Friday against Northland. Game time is 6:30 p.m.

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