Jays cruise on senior night
Going undefeated in the West Region wasn’t anywhere near the list of goals Sara Hegerle and her Jamestown volleyball team set for themselves prior to the season.
What an added bonus.
The Blue Jays swept Mandan 25-12, 25-23, 25-16 Tuesday at the JHS gym to finish 16-0 in conference play. Jamestown lost just three sets in region competition.
“Going into this season, we didn’t even want to think about going undefeated,” said Addie Eamon, who joined McKayla Orr and Josie Hegerle in being honored on senior night. “Now that we have, it’s awesome. We just wanna keep it going.”
Eamon finished with a match-high 15 kills and added a pair of blocks, while Hegerle had 35 assists and two blocks. Orr, the team’s libero, had 23 digs in the win, which improved the Blue Jays to 30-3 overall.
“It was a pretty good night for those seniors,” Sara Hegerle said. “It’s a nice night for them to reflect on their years here. They’ve done a nice job all year.”
The trio has been on the frontlines of the team’s success the entire season. The Blue Jays have taken just one in-state loss — a tournament championship setback to Fargo Shanley to start the year. They’ve won 22 straight matches and haven’t taken a loss since Sept. 7 at a tournament in Marshall, Minn.
“We didn’t set out to become undefeated (in the region),” Sara Hegerle said. “It wasn’t one of our goals, but it’s certainly something they’ve earned. It’s something we can celebrate because it’s a big deal.”
Mandan will likely be the No. 8 seed for the West Region tournament, which is Nov. 14-16 at the JHS gym. That means the Braves will play top-seeded Jamestown again, and that may not be the most ideal situation for the Blue Jays considering how set 2 went.
“Mandan fought really hard against us,” Sara Hegerle said. “I thought our team was surprised. At the same time, something should be said for a team that can come back and have that unspoken confidence.”
Five Eamon kills helped pace Jamestown in the first set, which saw the Jays take a 19-10 lead en route to the win.
But game 2 was anything but a given, as the Braves actually led 20-15 at one point. Jamestown started a rally, but a kill by Mandan’s Sasha Hopfauf looked to halt it.
Trailing 21-19, sophomore Jenna Stilwell went to work, crushing two kills and serving three straight aces to end the set. Stilwell finished with nine kills, and Rainey Selvig added 7. Kills by Kayla Weng and McKayla Keller polished off set 3 with relative ease.
“They were getting a lot of balls up I don’t think we were expecting them to,” Eamon said. “You have to give them a ton of credit. We could have played better. We’ll have games like that. I’m just glad we came back.”
Jamestown 3, Mandan 0
Mandan 12 23 16
Jamestown 25 25 25
Mandan: Kills, Mackensi Higlin 5, Sasha Hopfauf 5. Assists, Miranda Lowman 15. Aces, Hopfauf 2. Blocks, Higlin 2, Lowman 2. Digs, Sara Aune 21, Lowman 12.
Jamestown: Kills, Addie Eamon 15, Jenna Stilwell 9, Rainey Selvig 7. Assists, Josie Hegerle 35. Aces, Jenna Stilwell 3, McKayla Keller 2. Blocks, Hegerle 2, Eamon 2. Digs, Keller 25, McKayla Orr 23.
Records: Mandan 3-13 West Region, 10-24 overall. Jamestown 16-0, 30-3.
Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or firstname.lastname@example.org