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Chris Murphy, Published September 18 2012

Spuds top West Fargo in four sets

WEST FARGO – Coming into Tuesday’s volleyball match between Moorhead and West Fargo, the Spuds had simply fallen behind.

“It seems like every time we get behind, we get behind even more,” Moorhead coach Char Lien said. “We dig a hole and we dig it quite deep, and then we have to find a way to get out of it.”

Moorhead dug a hole versus West Fargo, but dug out of it to snap a four-match losing streak and knock off the Packers 21-25, 25-15, 25-23, 25-21 at West Fargo High School.

“They’ve always battled and they always come back every day,” Lien said. “We’ve been switching our lineup almost every single game, trying to find that magic fix, and tonight I think we finally found something that would work.

“Once they figure out that they are a quality team and they can compete, they got the physical skills. It’s all between the ears right now.”

Set 1 didn’t quite work for the Spuds (4-4), as a 17-15 lead disappeared behind a 10-4 Packers run thanks to three kills from West Fargo’s Shelby Gustafson (12 kills), two aces from Andrea Klug (31 assists) and a kill from Christina Bruenjes.

Moorhead’s outside hitter Emily Uglem was tired of losing, and she wasn’t ready to roll over after the Set 1 setback.

“We had a rough four games and it wasn’t like it was the other teams, but it was more our mistakes,” Uglem said. “I don’t think I can put into words what it means to end this losing streak.”

Uglem smashed six of her match-high 16 kills in the second set to help even things up.

Although Moorhead never trailed in the third set after Bailey Lund’s ace made it a 3-2 Spuds lead, the third set was a seesaw battle. The Spuds took a 20-13 lead on a block by Lexi Johnson, but West Fargo (9-6) cut the lead to one with an 11-4 run. Maddie Swanson (11 kills, one block, one ace), however, closed the book on Set 3 with a chip kill to give the Spuds a 2-1 lead.

In Set 4, Moorhead saw another lead nearly evaporate, as a 20-12 lead shrunk to 21-18. But even with just two seniors on the squad, the Spuds kept their poise and closed the game to take home the victory.

“We got all the technical stuff out of the way and just played volleyball, and it worked out for us,” Moorhead’s Amber Dorow said. “It’s a huge weight off our shoulders.”

With one weight lifted, comes another needing support. West Fargo watched nine serves go into the net in the final two sets, making the loss hard to take.

“We talk about not missing two serves in a row, and at one point we missed four,” West Fargo coach Paula Pierson said. “We have to stop our opponent’s runs, and we need to control the ball better.”

WF (kills-blocks-aces): Gustafson 12-0-0, Klug 2-1-2 (31 assists), Bruenjes 5-0-0, Levin 9-1-2, Suppa 6-0-0 (7 digs), Woodbury 0-0-1 (6 digs), Cambronne 0-0-2, Jipson 2-0-0.

M: Johnson 3-1-0, Uglem 16-1-0, L. Johnson 8-3-0, Swanson 11-1-1, LaFlamme 3-1-0, Lund 0-0-2, Gunkel 0-0-1 (36 assists), Dorow 0-0-0 (13 digs).

Forum reporter Chris Murphy can be reached at (701) 241-5548