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Chris Murphy, Published September 26 2013

Moorhead volleyball sweeps Fargo Davies

MOORHEAD – It wasn’t a conference match. It wasn’t a section match. It wasn’t even a matchup of teams in the same state, but there’s just something different about a Fargo team playing Moorhead.

“It’s just a rival,” Moorhead outside hitter Emily Uglem said. “You see them in so many sports. It’s kind of like, once we beat you, it’s satisfaction. It’s just different.”

Moorhead’s volleyball team went home more than satisfied Thursday, topping Fargo Davies 25-21, 25-12, 25-18 at Moorhead in the first-ever meeting between the Spuds and the Eagles.

“We came out confident,” said Uglem, who finished with 11 kills, three blocks and 10 digs. “We went out and said we were going to play as a confident team. We got the first two and we just knew we had to go out and get the third. Now, we just have to keep going hard.”

It was the first time of the season Moorhead (6-7) won back-to-back matches.

“Confidence is such a factor with these guys,” Moorhead coach Char Lien said. “The physical skills are there. The volleyball skills are there. It’s always what’s between the ears. It’s unbelievable what a little bit of confidence can do for you. Tonight, that was the difference.”

The Spuds got that confidence in Set 1. The largest lead of the set was four points, and there were 12 ties, including 21-21 after the Eagles (12-3) went on a 4-1 run to take momentum. After an Eagles sideout, an Alyssa LaFlamme block and kill and a Bailee Gulseth ace gave the set to Moorhead.

“Everybody was just really having an on night, and we were working really well together as a team,” said LaFlamme, who finished with nine kills, five blocks and one ace. “We were playing like the team that we are. If we play like we did tonight, we can win against anyone.”

Coming into the match, Moorhead had yet to win back-to-back matches, while Davies had done it nine times with two two-match winning streaks and an eight-match winning streak on the season.

“One of the factors was confidence,” Davies coach Missy Wilson said. “We started to play tentative and unfortunately, in our world of sports, if you become tentative the pace of the game is going to move a lot faster than you’re ready for. I think that’s what happened tonight.”

Moorhead took all of the momentum after Set 1, opening Set 2 with a 20-7 run and Set 3 with a 16-6 run. Olivia Ostlie had eight kills, one block and two aces, and Amber Gunkel dished out 33 assists. Davies was led by Carla Binde’s six kills and Katelyn Olson’s 16 assists.

The Spuds are hoping to have a few more winning streaks before it’s all said and done or, if they play like they did Thursday, just end on one long one.

“If we stick together like we did tonight, we can go far,” LaFlamme said. “As long as we keep playing together, I think we’ll be a pretty tough team to beat.”

D (kills-blocks-aces): Binde 6-1-0, Tomhave 4-2-0, Prost 1-1-0, Olson 1-1-0 (16 assists), Helland 2-1-0, Rick 0-0-1, Kringlie 5-2-0, Mikkelson 0-0-0 (9 digs).

M: Lund 0-0-3 (9 digs), Gunkel 2-0-0 (33 assists), Johnson 4-2-0, Uglem 11-3-0 (10 digs), Swanson 2-0-0, Carney 3-1-0, Ostlie 8-1-2, Gulseth 0-0-2 (12 digs), LaFlamme 9-5-1.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Chris Murphy at (701) 241-5548