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West Fargo sweeps Sheyenne in region volleyball quarterfinals

WEST FARGO—Top-seeded West Fargo withstood an early run by No. 9-seeded Sheyenne to take a 25-20 25-10, 25-16 victory in the East Region volleyball tournament quarterfinals on Tuesday, Nov. 7, at West Fargo High School. The Packers (30-1) are now on a 24-match winning streak during which they've lost just eight sets and have swept their last six matches.

"It just takes time for us to settle in and find our flow," said West Fargo head coach Kelsey Peterson said. "I think the first (set) took us a little longer for us to settle in, and then we started finding our flow."

University of North Dakota commit Darian Chwialkowski led the Packers with 11 kills and 11 digs. North Dakota State commit Kalli Hegerle, going against her former team, totaled 10 kills, 10 digs, four aces and 14 assists. Taylor Morris led the Packers with 19 assists.

Peterson said other teams have a tough time figuring out wherever the ball is going with their number of capable hitters.

"It means the other team doesn't know where we're going, so that helps us keep the other team guessing," Hegerle said. "It all comes down to effort and attitude."

Both teams went back and forth in the first set with scoring spurts to an 18-18 tie. Mustangs head coach Leah Newton wanted Sheyenne to pass the ball well and attacked early. The Packers ended the first set with a 7-2 run that ended with a Kinsey Erickson kill and a Mustangs hitting error.

The Packers kept the momentum and constructed a 19-3 run to take the second set with a combination of aces, designed kills and trick kills.

"We got stuck in a couple rotations in our passing, and we were having some trouble putting things together," Newton said. "They've got a lot of weapons, so if we don't attack and be aggressive, that puts us in a tough spot. We know that ball will be back at us hard."

After starting the third set at a 4-4 tie, the Packers put together a 9-0 run that ended with a Chwialkowski kill. The Mustangs came back with an 8-3 run that ended with McKenzie Newton and Olivia Dobrinz kills that forced West Fargo into a timeout. Hegerle said the the Packers made too many errors in that set, but they cleaned up and put together a 9-4 run to put the match away.

"It's (tournament) time, so anything can happen," Hegerle said. "They're a good team. Rivalries are always a big emotional game, so that plays a big part of it."

McKenzie Newton totaled a team-high 10 kills with five digs, a block and an ace for the Mustangs (13-19). Jadyn Feist added five kills and four digs. Brooke Prochaska facilitated the offense with 26 assists while Shay Weber, who Hegerle said the Packers game planned for, led the defense with 13 digs. The Mustangs now play No. 5-seeded Fargo North at 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at North High School in a consolation semifinal match for the rights to play in a state-qualifying match.

The Packers will be playing No. 4-seeded Fargo Shanley at 6 p.m. Friday in the East Region semifinals for the right to play in their first region championship since they won it in 2008.

"No records matter. No seeding matters," Peterson said. "We knew it was going to be a battle so we just focused on being mentally prepared for that all night and this weekend."

WFS (kills-blocks-aces): Galde 4-1-0, Weber 0-0-0 (13 digs), Feist 5-0-0, Newton 10-1-1, Prochaska 0-1-0 (26 assists), Borchardt 3-1-0, Dobrinz 4-2-0.

WF: Chwialkowski 11-0-1 (11 digs), Pfaff 6-1-0, Hegerle 10-2-4, Morris 0-0-1 (19 assists), Erickson 8-0-1, Waldera 0-0-2, Becher 4-0-0, Binstock 1-1-0.

Colton Pool

Pool is a reporter for The West Fargo Pioneer covering city sports and community news. He was the sports editor for The Dickinson Press covering Dickinson State athletics, high school athletics and Southwest Speedway. He graduated from North Dakota State with a degree in journalism and a minor in English. You can reach him by phone at 701-451-5715 or tweet him @CPoolReporter. 

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