On paper, Thursday night's volleyball game between the West Fargo Packers and the Fargo Shanley Deacons certainly looked like a blowout.
The Deacons topped the Packers in three straight games by scores of 25-18, 25-16 and 25-22.
Shanley combined for 10 aces. West Fargo had none.
Three Deacon players combined for 32 digs. West Fargo had one player with eight.
Shanley middle hitters Carly Mickelson, Alivia Fraase, and Jessica Anderson combined for the same number of kills (25) as the entire Packers team.
The Packers offense was hindered by unforced errors, and Shanley's defense was unrelenting.
Despite all the negatives for the Packers, I noticed a few positives.
A sort of never-say-die attitude became apparent in the first and third games, but for the most part, that mind-set didn't show until they were down by a few points.
In the first game, when Shanley was just a few points away from 25, the Packers seemed to step up and fight a little harder. Set-ups that would have resulted in a Shanley kill earlier in the game were met by the Packers with set-ups of their own.
The third game was a very intense affair, with the two teams going back and forth at each other until the end, swapping the lead a few times.
If they can start games with this mentality, instead of when a game seems out of reach, I have to believe they would experience fewer losses like this one.
As mentioned before, the Packers tallied 25 kills on Thursday. 20 of those came from juniors Shelby Gustafson, Courtney Suppa and senior Christina Bruenjes. These three were very impressive up front, and I can only assume that they will improve as the season progresses, which would make them a dangerous trio for opposing teams.
Despite the fact that Shanley out-hustled West Fargo as a team, Packers setter Andrea Klug was, quite possibly, the most aggressive player on the court Thursday evening. Her eight digs were more impressive than almost all of the Deacons' digs. It became a common sight during the game to see her come from out of nowhere, dive for the ball and roll back to her feet. With that intensity, she sets a great example for the rest of team.
Klug also tallied 15 assists.
The Packers (4-3) will make their way to Marshall, Minn., on Friday for a weekend tournament, and I have to believe things will look better.