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By Tom Miller / Forum Communications Co., Published November 13 2010

ND East Region volleyball: South rallies to top Packers

GRAND FORKS – The outlook was bleak.

Trailing 22-13 in Game 4, Fargo South was three points away from the end of its season. The Bruins’ body language said the team had all but accepted defeat.

“It started to sink in that we weren’t going to go to state,” South hitter Bridget Kruger said. “But that’s not how we play. That’s not what we came here to do. We wanted to go to state.”

Thanks to an improbable comeback, the Bruins will do just that.

South outscored the Packers 13-4 down the stretch in the fourth game and used that momentum to win the fifth game en route to a 20-25, 25-20, 17-25, 26-24, 15-8 victory over West Fargo in a state-qualifying game at the North Dakota East Region volleyball tournament.

“We finally started believing in each other,” South hitter Raquel Wellentin said. “We told each other that we’ve come from behind before.”

Although, probably not in such dramatic fashion. After winning Games 1 and 3, the Packers took control of the fourth game by grabbing leads of 18-11 and 22-13. West Fargo even led 24-22.

But the Bruins never went away and scored the game’s final four points, eventually taking the 26-24 win when Wellentin put down a kill.

“We started to pull together,” South coach Sarah Lacher said. “I’ve known these girls since their freshmen season and this is the most heart I’ve ever seen them play with.”

Despite the huge comeback in the fourth game, the Bruins still had plenty of energy to pull away in the decisive final game. After trading points to 6-6, South pulled away by scoring six of the next seven points.

“We had so much momentum,” Lacher said. “We were on such a high after battling back to win that last set.”

Wellentin finished off the Packers with a stuff at the net for the 15-8 victory.

“We just had fun there at the end,” Wellentin said. “We were playing pretty nervous in the fourth game. After that, we just had the mentality that we wanted to go to state.”

Meghan Roehrich and Michelle Westby each finished with eight kills for the Bruins, who had swept the Packers twice during the regular season. Wellentin finished with seven kills, while Kruger had six.

The Packers were led by Jill Gustafson’s 15 kills and Katelyn Holland’s 13. Holland also added six service aces.

KILLS: FS, Roerrich 8, Westby 8, Wellentin 7, Kruger 6. WF, Gustafson 15, Holland 13, Hummel 7.

ASSISTS: FS, Boisjolie 14, Duval 14. WF, Barta 15.

ACES: FS, Westby 3. WF, Holland 6, Miller 3, Barta 3.

Miller writes for the Grand Forks Herald