It wasn't the state tournament, but it's as close to being in the state tourney as a volleyball team is going to get in the month of October. The Packers disposed of nearly half of the teams in the state in the Fargo Tournament last Friday and Saturday, going 6-0.
It's the Packers second win in three years in the tournament which annually features nearly every team in the state. Earlier in the week West Fargo beat Grand Forks Red River in conference action. The two teams were both undefeated in the EDC going into the match. The Packers, at 20-3 overall, remain undefeated in the EDC at 9-0.
"We're really happy with how we're playing," said Packers coach Paula Pierson. "We have some players that are playing extremely well."
Pierson then rattled off several names, and not surprisingly, they were all seniors. The senior-dominated Packers start six of them. Among those seniors, there's Jessie Gust who is having a great season as a setter/hitter and does a great job "directing the team on the floor," according to Pierson.
The coach also praises outside hitter seniors Blake Selisker and Aryelle Jones. It's a senior class that leads the Packers and presents Pierson with few challenges when it comes to keeping them motivated. Outside of last season's state championship loss against Fargo South, which now serves as motivation, West Fargo has thoroughly dominated the rest of the state the past two seasons except for a match to a WDA team here or there. The Packers haven't lost a regular season conference match since 2006.
"Seniors understand this is their last season and come out and know the importance of every game," said Pierson. "One thing we are concentrating on though is making sure we get something aggressive on every play. We don't just want to give them a free ball back. We want to stay as aggressive as much as possible."
Gust said the Fargo Tournament was more than about adding to the team's win total.
"It was a test to see how far we've come, and we came out and played on a high level and beat everyone," said Gust.
The Packers have five regular season matches left before the EDC tournament begins Nov. 13 in Devils Lake.
Soccer misses state
By virtue of a fifth place finish in the EDC regular season with a 2-8 mark, the Packers failed to advance to the state tournament for the third season in a row.
West Fargo was shut out in a pair of conference contests last week, losing to Fargo Shanley 3-0 and Fargo South 2-0.
The Packers seemed to gain some offensive momentum with 11 goals in last month's West Fargo Invitational but were unable to carry it over to the second half of the conference season.
Perhaps lost in the shuffle of the news cycle was Packer senior Krista Weiszhaar's second-place finish at the state girls golf tournament. Weiszhaar finished only three strokes off the lead.
It was the second state runner-up finish of her career; she took second as a sophomore. It was also the conclusion of a brilliant golf career at West Fargo that makes her unquestionably the school's best golfer ever. Weiszhaar won three meets this season, including the conference title, and she finished as runner-up twice and third once.
Weiszhaar's 78.5 average this season places her tops in the EDC and fourth in the state, just over a stroke from second. The Packers took eighth at the 12-team state meet.
Swimmers win two
The Packer girls swimming team thoroughly won duals last week against EDC opponents Fargo Shanley and Fargo North - doubling up both teams in scoring.
Check out next week's issue for full Packer swimming coverage, including an update on state qualifiers. West Fargo competes in the Fargo Invite at Fargo North tomorrow and Saturday.
Packer of the Week
It's a three-way tie between Weiszhaar and two cross country runners - junior Jamison Gehrig (2nd at EDC) and freshman Alissa Mears (EDC champion).