Jamestown sweeps Shanley, on to first state-title match
By Chris Aarhus
"We were so excited. None of us could sleep," said the 6-foot middle hitter. "We woke up and instantly it was like 'Oh my gosh, we're playing to go to the state championship.'"
The lack of sleep didn't appear to faze the Blue Jays one bit.
Jamestown gutted out a thrilling 31-29, 25-23, 25-22 win over East Region top seed Fargo Shanley in a state semifinal Friday night at the Minot State Dome.
"They were ready to go when they woke up this morning," Jamestown coach Sara Hegerle said. "We've been waiting to play Shanley since the first week of the season. To win 3-0 against a really good team, I'm so happy. Now, on to the next one. We're not done."
The Blue Jays (34-4) meet defending state champion Bismarck Century at 8 p.m. looking for the school's first team championship since 2005.
"I think we deserve it, and I can't wait to see what happens (today)," Jamestown senior McKayla Orr said.
The first set was nothing short of a classic, but it didn't appear that way when Shanley's Hannah Krauter saw her ace drop to put the Deacons ahead 24-20.
However, Shanley's nightmare unfolded when it couldn't muster one more point.
A pair of hitting errors helped tie the match at 24 and the two teams went back and forth until Jamestown took a 30-29 lead on another Deacons hitting error. A tip kill by setter Josie Hegerle completed the comeback on the ensuing play.
"I don't know if we've ever played a game that went to 31," Eamon said. "To come back like that, it definitely gave us momentum."
If there was something both sides could agree on, it's that Jamestown's win set the tone for the rest of the match.
"They and their crowd ... they came out with a lot of fire," Shanley coach Curtis Johnson said. "We had a chance to put them away and we couldn't do it. Winning that one gave them some momentum."
Thanks to quick starts, Jamestown didn't trail in the final two sets, though Shanley had small rallies to get within striking distance toward the end. Addie Eamon had a match-high 16 kills, and Beka Hilgemann had a career-high 10 kills.
"What an inspiration these kids are," Sara Hegerle said. "Just to inspire their teammates when they fly around the court and never give up on a ball. ... They didn't give up when they were down 24-20. They never looked past the next point. I'm so proud of them."
Alivia Fraase's 11 kills paced Shanley, which meets Bismarck St. Mary's for third place at 2 p.m.
Jamestown 3, Fargo Shanley 0
Jamestown 25 25 25
Shanley 29 23 22
Jamestown (kills-blocks-aces): McKayla Orr 0-0-2 (39 digs), Jenna Stilwell 61-0 (5 digs), McKayla Keller 6-1-1 (17 digs), Rainey Selvig 3-0-0, Addie Eamon 16-5-0, Josie Hegerle 6-2-0 (37 assists, 13 digs), Rebekah Hilgemannn 10-0-0 (11 digs), Julina Niemeier 0-0-1 (7 digs.
Shanley: Alivia Fraase 22-3-0 (25 digs), Hannah Krauter 1-0-1 (19 digs, 13 assists), Madeline Stark 3-3-1, Sarah Jacobson 4-1-0 (21 digs), Ashley Hoganson 0-0-0 (16 digs), Sydney Weber 4-0-0 (8 digs), Lauren Sandy 0-2-1 (15 digs), Somer Bucholz 9-1-0 (11 digs).
Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or firstname.lastname@example.org