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Suppa, Gustafson power Packer volleyball offense

Shelby Gustafson and Courtney Suppa are both senior players on the West Fargo High School Volleyball team, and have provided much of the team’s offensive output, according to head coach Paula Pierson. Carrie Snyder

By Daniel Determan

If you would look at the stats from a Packer volleyball game, you would notice two names leading the offense attack for the team: seniors Courtney Suppa and Shelby Gustafson.

The two have been playing together for several years, and have developed a sort of chemistry that in turn rubs off on the rest of the team.

“We’ve been playing together since seventh grade,” Gustafson said. “We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”

“I feel like we are on the same wavelength sometimes,” Suppa said. “When I’m in the front row, she is in the back calling shots for me. We also both want it really bad, and I think that transfers to the team and how much they want it and how hard they are willing to work.”

Both players have shown leadership traits in their time on the team, but the general consensus is that Gustafson is the emotional leader of the team.

“When she gets excited, everyone knows it,” Suppa said, laughing. “She is always talking and jumping around.”

“A lot of the time, she will jump in excitement as high as she would jump for the ball,” Pierson said. “She is just a phenomenal leader. She leads more by example than anything else, and she has the ability to get people around her fired up.”

Suppa, on the other hand, leads with intensity, relentlessness and a very hard spike.

“She’s such a great athlete,” Gustafson said. “She has the ability to put the ball down to the floor with such a fast arm swing.”

“She has probably the fastest arm that I have coached,” Pierson said. “When her timing is on with that speed, you are not going to pick that up. That’s an unstoppable attack.”

She is also unwilling to give up on a ball, as she leads the team with 141 digs and currently has an injured wrist from hitting the floor.

They also provide a boost on the defensive end as well, as Pierson described Suppa as “extremely quick” and Gustafson has the ability to read opponents better than most players.

The Packers are currently seventh in the EDC with a 3-6 conference record, but Gustafson feels the team has plenty of time and skill to get back on track.

“It will take a lot of commitment and relentlessness,” Gustafson said. “We can’t back down. We have to keep fighting.”

Suppa and Gustafson are wrapping up their final season of West Fargo volleyball. Neither has decided which college they will attend next year, but Pierson will look fondly on the past three years of those two on the varsity team.

“It has been fun to watch Shelby and Courtney not only mature as athletes, but as young women,” Pierson said. “They are standouts, and not just on the volleyball court. They just have that smart sense about them, and I know as their coach that they are going to be successful people. They are such positive kids and go-getters. Whatever they choose to do in life, they are going to be successful.”

The Packers head to Fargo Davies on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game.