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Eric Peterson, Published October 20 2010

High school volleyball: Packers rally to top Spuds, Despite missing a top hitter, WF gains momentum to win

Moments before match time Tuesday, West Fargo lost one of its top hitters, senior Carissa Becher, to injury.

The Packers needed one set to figure out their reconfigured lineup.

West Fargo rallied to win the final three sets en route to a 20-25, 25-20, 25-18, 25-11 home victory against Moorhead in nonconference high school volleyball.

“I think in our first set tonight we needed to calm down, take a deep breath and settle in and realize we are still strong,” West Fargo coach Paula Pierson said. “We had to make some adjustments and put people in some places we haven’t practiced yet. That was good for us to see how we would react to that and I thought the players did a nice job.”

Moorhead (11-11) had the start it wanted, racing to a 23-13 lead in the first set en route to a 25-20 win.

The Spuds, however, were unable to keep that early momentum.

“We’ve been struggling and I think our road trips are finally catching up with us,” Moorhead coach Char Lien said. “We’ve been playing probably the toughest schedule we’ve ever had and we’ve been on the road a lot. We’re just getting physically beat down, and worse, mentally beat down.”

West Fargo (19-9) had its mental toughness tested when Becher injured her knee during pregame.

“She was warming up, hitting on the outside here and she just came down funny,” Pierson said.

The Packers trailed 14-12 in the second set when they found their groove. West Fargo went on an 11-1 rally that shifted the match momentum and gave them a 23-15 lead in the set. Junior Allison Barta had three kills and two blocks during that critical stretch that lifted West Fargo to a 25-20 victory in Set 2.

“I was kind of nervous how everybody would step up and play together because Carissa is a big part of our team,” Barta said. “We kind of had to figure out our flow together with a new player playing a different position and kind of juggling every player playing a new spot.”

Pierson and Lien agreed the West Fargo defense was also a factor as the match turned in favor of the Packers.

“We didn’t have anybody who could find the floor and put the ball down and we just fatigued out,” Lien said.

Senior outside hitter Katleyn Holland led the Packers with 23 digs. Holland also added 11 kills. Senior Jill Gustafson had 13 kills and 20 assists for West Fargo.

“That is probably some of the best defense we’ve played, just flat out going for a ball and not letting it hit the floor,” Pierson said.

MOORHEAD (kills-blocks-aces): Olsen 7-0-1, Funk 0-0-0, Tietz 9-4-0, Gerber 0-0-0, Gilbertson 0-0-1 (42 digs), Falk 3-1-2, Ernst 0-0-0, Baldwin 0-2-0 (25 assists), Johnson 2-2-0, Holsen 6-2-1, Van Dyke 1-1-0, Ussatis 0-0-0.

WEST FARGO: Gustafson 13-1-0 (20 assists), Barta 18-2-2 (20 assists), Holland 11-1-0 (23 digs), Schnepf 0-0-0, Nelson 3-1-0, Hummel 1-1-2, K. Woodbury 2-0-2.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Eric Peterson at (701) 241-5513.

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