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Chris Murphy, Published August 29 2013

Moorhead sweeps Wadena-Deer Creek to open up the volleyball season

MOORHEAD – Moorhead outside hitter Emily Uglem never imagined any of her volleyball games would be canceled based on weather conditions. It happened Tuesday when the Spuds opener was postponed due to the heat at Sartell.

“We were all just devastated we couldn’t play Tuesday,” Uglem said. “It was hot and they had condensation on their floor, so we couldn’t play. … We just practiced harder and harder because of it, and it paid off really well.”

Uglem and Moorhead took out their anger in their second attempt at a season opener with a 25-14, 25-9, 25-13 win over Wadena-Deer Creek on Thursday at Moorhead. The Spuds players weren’t the only ones itching to play Tuesday. Spuds coach Char Lien was ready to go with a team she is claiming has the deepest bench in her 15 years of coaching Moorhead.

“Considering we’re the one indoor sport in the fall, and we’re the ones who get postponed, is kind of ironic,” Lien said. “We weren’t quite sure what to expect with it being a home match and having a lot of jitters. It’s nice to set the tone right away.”

Moorhead trailed in the early part of the first set 7-6 when the Spuds went on an 11-1 run to take control. Uglem blasted six of her 11 kills in the first set.

“We decided we were going to start hard and finish stronger,” Uglem said. “It worked. It’s really nice because we have a deep bench. If you’re having a rough time, someone else can take your place and you don’t miss a beat.”

The second set was no contest, as Moorhead opened on a 15-5 run behind three kills from Uglem and two kills from Olivia Ostlie during the spurt.

Moorhead started the third set nearly exactly the same with a 14-4 run thanks to six unforced errors from the Wolverines.

The Spuds rolled from there thanks to Alyssa LaFlamme’s three kills, one ace and once block in the set. LaFlamme finished with seven kills, four blocks and one ace, and Amber Gunkel added 24 assists for the Spuds.

Even though it was delayed, it wasn’t a bad opener for Moorhead against a Wadena-Deer Creek team that lost in the section championship last season, made it to state in 2011 and won the Class 2A state championship in 2010.

“The most important thing with this team is how much they talk and communicate,” Lien said. “When they do that, they play great. It really is the deepest bench I’ve ever had. Talking makes a difference, and they have bought into it, and they see what good things can happen when they do that.”

Mikaela Nordlund had two kills and Danyel Post had four blocks to lead Wadena-Deer Creek.

W-DC (kills-blocks-aces): Volkmann 1-1-1, Nordlund 2-0-1, Post 0-4-0, Craig 1-1-0, Thiesen 0-0-0 (12 digs), Jahnke 0-0-0 (four assists).

M: Gunkel 1-3-4 (24 assists), Uglem 11-0-0, Swanson 2-0-0, Tollefson 1-0-1, Carney 1-0-0, Ostlie 3-0-0, Gulseth 0-0-2, LaFlamme 7-4-1, Dalquist 3-2-0.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548