FARGO-Taylor Morris couldn't ask for a better situation as a setter. Whichever way she passes, Morris can safely bank on West Fargo ending the play with a kill.
The Packers offense is about as dependable as them sweeping matches. Top-seeded West Fargo swept No. 2 seed Valley City 25-18, 25-18, 25-14 on Saturday at Fargo North High School for the Packers' first East Region volleyball tournament championship since 2008.
The Packers (32-1) will go into the Class A state tournament as the East Region's No. 1 seed on a 26-match winning streak during which they've lost just nine sets.
"It sounds pretty sweet," West Fargo head coach Kelsey Peterson said. "It's something we haven't talked a lot about. We just talk about one game at a time, but it's something that sounds pretty great now."
Kalli Hegerle, an all-East Region selection, recorded a match-high 17 kills to go with three aces, 18 assists and 10 digs. Darian Chwialkowski, the East Region senior athlete of the year and an all-East Region pick, finished with 10 kills and a match-high 16 digs. Tiana Pfaff, an all-East Region selection, added 11 kills and nine digs. Morris tallied 27 assists.
"We have a great offense," Morris said. "The key is keeping them guessing because then nobody is going to know where the ball is going and we can put the ball down."
Macy Olstad led Valley City with 12 kills and Reagan Ingstad added 22 assists, 11 digs, two kills and an ace. Valley City head coach Jill Taylor, who was named East Region coach of the year, said Valley City clinched its first state tournament appearance ever by winning in the semifinals, so the pressure was off in this match.
"We just had a lot of mistakes on our part," Taylor said. "We didn't play our aggressive defense we normally do. We struggled with blocking so that really put some stress on the back row."
West Fargo's only loss of the year was its first matchup with Valley City (21-11). But the Packers learned from that match and had an answer for any Valley City run.
After West Fargo took an early five-point lead, Valley City got to within two points of tying the match at 20-18. The Packers closed on a five-point run to take the first set.
After another early five-point lead for West Fargo, Valley City went on an 11-4 run to take a two-point lead. The Packers again replied, this time with a 9-2 run to close out the second set.
The Packers jumped out to a 19-10 lead in the third set and never looked back on their way to a conference title.
"We've been working for it all year," Chwialkowski said. "It's a goal we've all had in mind so that's really good."
VC (kills-blocks-aces): White 14-0-1, Halgrimson 6-5-0, Berntson 3-3-0, Ingstad 2-0-1 (22 assists), Noeske 2-4-0, Pederson 1-0-0, Olstad 0-0-1.
WF: Chwialkowski 10-0-0 (16 digs), Binstock 4-2-0, Hegerle 17-0-3, Erickson 5-1-0, Waldera 0-0-3, Becher 2-0-0, Morris 0-1-1 (27 assists), Pfaff 11-0-1.
Fargo Davies 3, West Fargo Sheyenne 0
After losing to Valley City in the East Region semifinals late Friday night, Melissa Wilson was worried how her Fargo Davies team would turnaround and play the next day with minimal recovery.
The No. 3-seeded Eagles bounced back just fine and swept No. 9-seeded West Fargo Sheyenne 25-21, 25-23, 25-15 in the second state-qualifying match of the East Region tournament.
"They were staying aggressive," Wilson said. "We were doing a really good serving, so I think we were doing a good job getting them out of system. That's the hope that you keep working and work a team down."
Keely Terry totaled a match-high 11 kills for the Eagles (24-9). Hope Rumpf added nine kills, Madi Langlie chalked up seven kills and a pair of aces, while Averi Beyer compiled 17 digs and Kenzee Langlie facilitated the offense with 35 assists.
Jadyn Feist led the Mustangs (14-20) with eight kills while McKenzie Newton added seven kills and Cady Borchardt and Olivia Dobrinz both had six. Shay Weber ended with a match-high 23 digs.
"You could see in the legs of the kids that play all the way around, they were a little fatigued today," Wilson said. "Hopefully they can get rested up and get ready for next weekend."
WFS (kills-blocks-aces): Hoffner 0-0-2, Galde 0-2-0, Weber 0-0-2 (23 digs), Lambert 1-0-0, Feist 8-1-0, Newton 7-0-0, Prochaska 1-0-1 (15 assists), Borchardt 6-2-1, Dobrinz 6-4-0.
FD: Selekwa 6-1-0, Terry 11-1-0, M. Langlie 7-0-2, Solberg 7-1-0, Rumpf 9-0-0, K. Langlie 0-1-1 (35 assists), Beyer 0-0-1 (17 digs), Kiland 2-0-0.
Devils Lake 3, Fargo Shanley 0
After four seasons as head coach, Carla Freschette considers this year's Devils Lake volleyball players like her babies. She saw the Firebirds mature on their way to a state tournament berth.
No. 6-seeded Devils Lake swept No. 4 seed Fargo Shanley 25-10, 25-20, 25-18 in the first state qualifying match of the East Region tournament.
"We showed up," Freschette said. "They got up ready to go today. They worked together on the floor and communicated really well."
Mattea Vetch led Devils Lake (21-14) with a match-high 13 kills and Taylor Windjue added 10 kills and 17 assists. Alex Palmer totaled 18 assists, Abby Johnson led the Firebirds' defense with a match-high 13 digs.
Reile Payne led Shanley (23-10) with nine kills to go with five digs. Caira Berg added six kills and Jordyn Stroup led the Deacons with nine digs.
"This is hard work paying off," Freschette said. "The biggest thing is them buying into the program, working hard and seeing it pay off."
DL (kills-blocks-aces): Johnson 0-0-1 (13 digs), Benedetti 4-1-0, Windjue 10-1-1, Toso 8-4-2, Light 3-0-0, Vetsch 13-0-0, Olson 3-0-1, Palmer 3-0-4 (18 assists).
FS: Berg 6-1-0, Payne 9-0-1, Meier 3-1-0, Huber 1-0-0, Visser 1-1-0, Stroup 5-0-0 (nine digs), Vetter 3-0-1, Friederichs 0-1-0.