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Published September 22 2010

High school volleyball: Spartan shutout, Lopez, Johnson and Larson combine for 31 kills in win

The Fargo North volleyball team has been scrapping for wins much of this season.

However, the Spartans appeared to have put the past in the rear view mirror Tuesday against the top team in the Eastern Dakota Conference.

Mia Lopez, Keli Johnson and Kira Larson combined for 31 kills to lead the Spartans to a convincing 25-13,

25-19, 25-19 EDC victory against first-place Fargo Shanley at North High School.

“We’ve been kind of struggling the beginning of the season,” North coach Missy Wilson said. “We had some tough matches and lost in five. But there are some things that we’ve been working on offensively, and I think the kids put it together tonight.”

The Spartans (8-5, 6-2) blistered through the usually sound Deacons defense in Game 1.

Larson and Johnson picked their spots perfectly, hammering the ball in every direction in the runaway win.

Shanley (11-2, 7-1) entered the game 8-0 in the conference. The Deacons were last defeated by Dickinson late last month at the Bismarck tournament.

There have been six-consecutive wins since then, including a 3-2 victory against perennial EDC contender Grand Forks Red River.

“It’s a really good wake-up call for our girls to see that, although we’ve been playing well so far, we have to continue to improve throughout the season,” Shanley coach Wendy Zeiher said. “We by no means think we’re the top dogs. But with our record right now, we’ve kind of got a label on our back that other teams are out to get us. … I just thought they outplayed us.”

North battled back from a 10-7 deficit in Game 2 and a 17-14 deficit in Game 3 to complete the sweep.

The win could be the perfect tune up for a tough trio of conference matchups just on the horizon.

North is slated to play Red River, West Fargo and rival Fargo South in a row following a tournament this weekend in Dickinson.

“The kids knew this was a big match,” Wilson said. “Shanley was undefeated. The kids knew this could set the tone for the next few phases that we have.”

SHANLEY (kills-blocks-aces): Kanwischer 2-0-1, Rotunda 6-2-0, Weir 4-1-3, Sandy 5-0-1 (8 digs), Vetter 1-0-0, Carlson 4-2-1.

NORTH: Marty 0-0-0 (21 digs), Daly 5-0-3, Rindy 4-1-1, Johnson 10-3-2 (21 assists), Larson 11-5-1, McGurran 5-2-0, Lopez 10-2-0, Brewer 0-0-0, Preston 0-0-0.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562.

Hotzler’s blogs can be found at www.areavoices.com