SPORTS: Battle of unbeatens goes to Packers
West Fargo volleyball coach Paula Pierson said Tuesday's match against Grand Forks Red River was a good measuring stick. As it turns out, no one is measuring up to the Packers. West Fargo remained undefeated in the East Region with a 25-23, 23-25...
West Fargo volleyball coach Paula Pierson said Tuesday's match against Grand Forks Red River was a good measuring stick.
As it turns out, no one is measuring up to the Packers.
West Fargo remained undefeated in the East Region with a 25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 25-18 win over the Roughriders at the Red River gymnasium.
It was the first region loss of the season for Red River, which dropped to 7-1 in the East Region and 13-3 overall.
West Fargo improved to 9-0 and 17-3.
"That was a great match," Pierson said. "That (tight match) was exactly what we expected. We knew coming in that Red River was a big, tough team."
But the Packers remained atop the region standings with a balanced offense and strong performances in the final two games.
Blake Selisker and Aryelle Jones led the Packers with 12 and 11 kills, respectively. Four other players had five or more kills: Jenna Kolb (nine), Sarah Denne (seven), Alyssa Hummel (five) and Jessie Gust (five).
"West Fargo has the ability to get the ball to a lot of different hitters," Red River coach Carolyn Olson said. "They're very consistent."
After the teams traded wins in the first two games, the Packers took control.
In Game 3, Red River pulled to within 18-17 with a kill from Emily Evers. But West Fargo would outscore Red River 7-2 the rest of the game, capped by a Jones block to take a one-game advantage.
In the decisive Game 4, the Packers went on another late run. After the game was tied at 16, West Fargo strung together nine of the next 11 points. The Packers iced it with a Gust kill for a 25-18 win.
"This was a great match to test the character of our team," Pierson said. "I think we came out of it well. Red River always gives us a tough test and Coach Olson does a fantastic job with them."
Red River's lone game victory came in dramatic fashion. The Riders trailed 18-9 midway through the second game. But clutch serving from Megan Stoley, who had three aces late in the game, keyed the win. Jordyn Steffen sealed the victory with a block for a 25-23 win.
Steffen led the Riders with seven kills and three aces. Brooke Larson, Megan Storstad, Holly Asche and Evers each added four kills for Red River.
"We're at about midseason, and we're trying some different lineup combinations," Olson said. "Obviously, we're disappointed with the loss, but there are lessons to take away from this. That's what the regular season is all about."
West Fargo 3, GF Red River 1
Key play: Aryelle Jones' block to win Game 3.
Key player: Blake Selisker, 12 kills, 28 digs.