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Packers volleyball stunned in state volleyball quarterfinals

West Fargo players Kinsey Erickson, Madie Waldera, Darian Chwialkowski, Taylor Morris, Kalli Hegerle and Tiana Pfaff celebrate a point in the final set against Mandan last Thursday during the North Dakota Class A state volleyball tournament quarterfinals at the Fargodome.David Samson / The Pioneer1 / 5
West Fargo's Tiana Pfaff, left, and Mandan's Megan Zander battle at the net last Thursday during the North Dakota Class A state volleyball tournament quarterfinals at the Fargodome.David Samson / The Pioneer2 / 5
West Fargo's McKenna Becher (23) and Erin Binstock defend a shot last Thursday during the North Dakota Class A state volleyball tournament quarterfinals at the Fargodome.David Samson / The Pioneer3 / 5
West Fargo's Brooklyn Myrvik and Maddie Waldera reach for a return against Mandan Thursday, Nov. 16, during the North Dakota Class A volleyball tournament at the Fargodome.David Samson / The Pioneer4 / 5
West Fargo's Maddie Waldera goes for a dig against Mandan last Thursday during the North Dakota Class A state volleyball tournament quarterfinals at the Fargodome.David Samson / The Pioneer5 / 5

The West Fargo Packers had their dream season take a detour Thursday, Nov. 16, at the Fargodome.

The top seed from the East Region had its state championship hopes dashed thanks to the Mandan Braves, the No. 4 seed from the West Region. Junior hitter Megan Zander had 18 kills and four blocks to lead Mandan to a 25-21, 22-25, 25-18, 23-25, 16-14 victory against the Packers in the North Dakota Class A state volleyball tournament quarterfinals.

The Packers went on to take fifth at the state tournament with two sweeps. They beat East Region No. 3-seeded Fargo Davies 25-21, 25-18, 25-13, and then beat West Region No. 3-seeded Bismarck 25-21, 25-21, 25-19 in the fifth-place match. Bismarck Century won its third straight Class A state championship in the title match.

The Packers (34-2) lost for only the second time this season in the quarterfinals.

"It's something that they've been working hard for, but at the end of the day, tonight's game doesn't tell our story," said Packers head coach Kelsey Peterson. "There is so much more that's gone well for us this season."

The Packers looked in position to rally for victory against Mandan after they earned a 25-23 win in the fourth set and built leads of 12-7 and 13-10 in the fifth set.

The Braves responded by scoring nine of the final 11 points in the match. Junior hitter Sydney Walters had a kill that capped a run of four consecutive Mandan points to gave the Braves a 14-13 lead in the final set. Two points later, junior hitter Emily Tweten added a kill that gave Mandan a 15-14 lead. The Braves clinched the match on a West Fargo net violation.

Senior hitters Kalli Hegerle and Darian Chwialkowski paced the Packers with 19 kills apiece. Hegerle also had 21 assists and 21 digs. Senior hitter Tiana Pfaff chipped in 11 kills.

"I think we just got outplayed," Peterson said. "I think that Mandan came to play. We made way too many mistakes. They played a lot cleaner game than us. At the end of the day, the game comes down to mistakes."

In the consolation semifinals against Davies, Hegerle led the Packers with 12 kills and four aces to go with four blocks and 12 assists. Chwialkowski totaled 18 digs to go with five kills, two blocks and two aces. Pfaff added 10 kills and four blocks. Morris recorded 24 assists. Erin Binstock totaled a match-high five blocks to go with eight kills. Grace Solberg led Davies with 13 kills.

In West Fargo's win in the fifth-place match over Bismarck, Hegerle led the Packers with 15 kills and added 10 digs and 14 assists. Pfaff chalked up nine kills, Chwialkowski totaled seven kills and tied a match-high 16 digs and Morris finished with a match-high 23 assists.

Chwialkowski, a University of North Dakota commit, was on the all-state team for the third time in her career on the first team. Pfaff was on the all-state second team and the all-tournament team. Hegerle, a North Dakota State commit, was on the all-tournament team as well.

"It's hard to process and you really got to feel for the kids," Peterson said. "They wanted it and they had one goal."

Quarterfinals

MANDAN (kills-blocks-aces): Harris 0-0-1 (22 assists), Weiand 1-0-1 (19 assists), Walters 8-0-0, Moe 4-3-1 (37 digs), Zander 18-4-1, Darras 6-5-0, Leingang 1-0-2 (29 digs), Olson 6-3-0.

WEST FARGO: Chwialkowski 19-1-1 (27 digs), Binstock 3-3-0, Pfaff 11-3-0, Waldera 0-0-1, Morris 0-0-0 (29 assists), Erickson 5-0-1, Hegerle 19-4-1, Becher 1-1-0.

Consolation semifinals

FARGO DAVIES: Terry 2-0-0, Selekwa 5-2-0, K. Langlie 2-1-0 (29 assists), M. Langlie 5-0-2 (16 digs), Rumpf 8-1-0, Solberg 13-0-0.

WEST FARGO: Chwialkowski 5-2-2 (18 digs), Binstock 8-5-0, Pfaff 10-4-0, Waldera 0-0-1, Morris 0-0-0 (24 assists), K. Erickson 2-1-3, Hegerle 12-4-4, Becher 4-2-0.

Fifth-place match

BISMARCK: Kivisto 0-0-1, Mosolf 0-0-1 (15 assists), Glasser 0-0-0 (16 digs), Hawkinson 1-1-0, Steckler 3-0-0, Andre 10-0-0, Dickerson 1-1-0, Heisler 4-1-0, Schwab 4-0-0, Mosbrucker 11-0-0.

WEST FARGO: Chwialkowski 7-1-1 (16 digs), Binstock 5-2-0, Pfaff 9-1-0, Waldera 0-0-1, Morris 0-0-0 (23 assists), K. Erickson 5-1-0, Hegerle 15-1-1, Becher 2-1-0.

Eric Peterson
Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.

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