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Volleyball wins third, fourth straight games

The Packers are picking up steam in the home stretch of the regular season, as they picked up two wins last week. 

They have won four straight games and six of their last eight.

The Pack started the week with a five-game (25-17, 16-25, 25-19, 14-25, 20-18) victory over Grand Forks Red River, the conference’s No. 3 seed.

“That is exactly what we have been looking to do,” head coach Paula Pierson said. “It shows that we can compete with the top teams in the EDC. It has really been giving the girls confidence.”

Senior Courtney Suppa earned 22 kills to lead the team’s offensive attack. She also had 35 digs and a block.

Setter Jadyn Cookman tallied 41 assists, and senior hitter Shelby Gustafson had 12 kills, two blocks and two aces.

Senior Amanda Levin, who tore the ACL and MCL in her left leg in early September, came in to serve at one point with all of the team’s seniors (along with Cookman) on the court, and the team scored three points with her on the court despite essentially playing 5-on-6.

“She was able to get back on the court with her friends and she was able to walk off the court on her own this time,” Levin’s father Dan said. “It was a very emotional night for us.”

“It was a very special moment, and boy, did her teammates rally around her,” Pierson said. “She is such a dedicated athlete, and she has been working hard in therapy and it has been going well. None of this happened by chance.”

The Packers carried that momentum into Wahpeton on Thursday, where they beat the Huskies 3-0 (25-11, 25-13, 25-14).

In that game, the West Fargo offense was fairly evenly distributed amongst four hitters, and leading the team was sophomore Kennedi Sand with 12 kills. Gustafson and Suppa had 10 and nine kills, respectively, and senior Kaitlin Langerud rounded out the offense with six kills of her own.

The sophomore setter Cookman had 35 assists.

“It is great that we are starting to have other players (other than Suppa and Gustafson) step up,” Pierson said. “Jadyn is doing an excellent job, and Kaitlin has been so steady for us. We can always rely on her for five to nine kills.”

With the Eastern Dakota Conference Tournament starting on Tuesday, the 9-7 Packers chances are better than their record indicates, according to Pierson.

“We are playing our best volleyball at the perfect time of the season. If they play the way I know we are capable of, I really think we could be heading to Minot. Shanley is way out ahead of the pack, but otherwise this is the tightest the EDC has been in years. It will come down to who is playing their best volleyball.”