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Ty's Take: Ballwebers take sixth at state

Fargo South's Raquel Wellentin attempts to hit the ball past West Fargo's Jill Gustafson (27) and Danielle Nelson during their Tuesday game at South High School. Dave Wallis/The Forum

Ben and Brady Ballweber were the only Packers representing their school at last weekend's boys state tennis tournament in Bismarck.

Coming home with a sixth-place finish after battling some of the best tennis players in North Dakota means the Ballwebers did West Fargo proud.

As the fifth-seeded East Region doubles team, Ben and Brady were set to face the No. 4 West Region team. With close talent like that, the ball could bounce either way.

But when the dust settled, it was the West Fargo duo advancing to the next round with a 7-6 (8-7), 6-1 victory over Nathan Berger and Erik Porter of Mandan.

In the quarterfinals, however, the Packer tandem faced a dominant duo in Grand Forks Red River's Joey Anderson and Gregory Wischer. The eventual state doubles champions took down the Ballwebers with a 6-2, 6-2 win.

Ben and Brady were bumped into the consolation bracket with the loss. They would have to fight through two more rounds if they hoped to get into the fifth-place final.

And they did just that, but it didn't come easy.

In the consolation quarterfinals, the Ballwebers had a marathon matchup against Bismarck Century's Joe Janes and Sam Mastel. The Packers finally prevailed 1-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7-3).

The semis were a little kinder for the West Fargo doubles team, as it beat Fargo North's Andy Ficek and David Russell 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

In the fifth-place championship game, Ben and Brady came out hot with a quick 6-1 set win over Fargo South's Seth Hochhalter and Leo O'Day. But the Bruins rebounded, and took the match victory with a 7-5 momentum shifter and a 6-1 finale to seal the deal.

It was a hard-fought battle, and the Ballwebers never gave up. As ambassadors of West Fargo, they portrayed sportsmanship and heart.

Ben and Brady Ballweber should feel proud.

Volleyball splits week

At 9-2 in conference play, the Packers volleyball team is neck-and-neck with Fargo Shanley at the No. 1 spot in the EDC.

The two squared off Tuesday in a "Dig The Cure" game to benefit breast cancer, but results from the game were not available when this edition of the Pioneer went to press.

West Fargo fell 25-14, 25-22, 25-16 to Fargo South last Tuesday, but rebounded Thursday to defeat Fargo North 25-19, 25-16, 25-22.

The Packers, who are 14-5 overall, will have a chance to increase their record during the two-day Fargo Invitational, which begins Friday. West Fargo is scheduled to face Bismarck St. Mary's at 5 p.m., TMCHS (Belcourt) at 6 p.m., and Dickinson at 8 p.m.

Matchups for Saturday's games have yet to be determined.

Soccer season winds down

The West Fargo boys soccer season is winding down. They had three games last week, in which they defeated Central 8-0 on Tuesday, Crookston (Minn.) 8-2 on Friday, and tied the Knights 1-1 on Saturday.

At 6-2-1 in conference play, and 9-3-3 overall, the Packers currently are in second place in the EDC. They faced undefeated Shanley on Tuesday, but results were not in by press time. West Fargo hosts South on Friday at 4:30 p.m., and then travels to North for its last regular-season game Saturday at 2 p.m.

The state tournament is Oct. 14-16 in Grand Forks.