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Heath Hotzler, Published September 10 2009

Hotzler column: Missed opportunity drives Fargo Shanley volleyball

Coaches and players often downplay missed opportunities.

However, the Fargo Shanley volleyball team is using last year’s disappointment as motivation.

And it seems to be working for the Deacons.

Shanley, which finished third in the Eastern Dakota Conference last year but was ousted from the postseason in a state play-in game, is currently atop the EDC at 3-0. The Deacons are 8-2 overall.

“We sat down last season with some disappointment,” Shanley coach Wendy Zeiher said. “A lot of us thought that we should have been in that spot (at the state tournament). … This is my 10th season and I would say this group has put in the most time in the offseason.”

Much of the Deacons’ core group competed together at tournaments and team camps this summer to try to ensure a place at state for the first time since 2007.

Shanley’s win against Fargo North – which upset the Deacons for a state tourney berth last year at the EDC tournament – at Jamestown’s team camp in July highlighted the offseason.

The success has carried over to the school year.

Shanley has been solid at the net to open the year thanks to Kaitlyn Carlson, Hannah Sitzmann and Sammi Post.

Last year’s libero Madalyn Laske has been spectacular since becoming the team’s starting setter.

“I think we are so sound defensively and with our serve receive,” Zeiher said. “We have really good overall skills, and that makes it hard to compete with us.”

The Deacons’ biggest test of the young season will come when they square off against North next Thursday. The Spartans are 7-2 overall and 2-0 in the EDC after knocking off previously unbeaten Grand Forks Red River 3-1 on Tuesday.

“We’re super, super excited,” Zeiher said. “We’ve really been looking to rebuild this program for a long time. We expect to be good in the future, and right now we are trying to push our way to the top.”

Wahpeton, Central Cass to meet in 2A clash

A pair of unbeatens in North Dakota Class 2A East Region will meet Friday when Wahpeton hosts Central Cass at 7 p.m. Friday.

Both teams are 2-0 and are coming off big defensive performances. The Huskies, who dropped down from Class 3A this year, blanked rival Breckenridge last week 28-0.

The Squirrels shut out Fargo Oak Grove-Park Christian 26-0.

Wahpeton is the top-ranked team in Class 2A and is expected by many to challenge for a state title.

Central Cass also has an 18-0 shutout against Northern Cass.

Nelson Metro Classic meet slated for today

The Andrew Nelson Metro Classic cross country meet, hosted by Fargo Shanley-Oak Grove, is scheduled for 4 p.m. today at Lindenwood Park.

The varsity boys and girls meets will have participants from Shanley-Oak Grove, West Fargo, Fargo South, Fargo North, Moorhead, Central Cass, Richland and Wahpeton.

The meet and the varsity boys race are named after a former Shanley cross country and track runner who was killed in 2007 while serving as an Army staff sergeant in Iraq.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562 or hotzler@forumcomm.com