Strong start: Blue Jays blitz Mandan in three
Sara Hegerle took the advice of her husband Jon when assessing Meghan Orr’s serving problems earlier this season.
It’s worked wonders, and the 5-foot sophomore was at it again on Thursday. Orr rallied the Blue Jays from a 5-3 deficit in set 2, serving 15 consecutive points and also serving the final three points in a 25-17, 25-9, 25-12 West Region quarterfinal win over Mandan at the JHS gym.
“Coach always told me to serve aggressively, so I just did,” said Orr, who finished with a match-high four aces. “It was exciting. It got us all back going.”
The top-seeded Blue Jays (31-3) won their 23rd straight and play fourth-seeded Bismarck High in the semifinals at approximately 6 p.m. today.
“I thought it was by far the best game we’ve played against Mandan,” Sara Hegerle said.
The volleyball coach at the University of Jamestown, Jon used simple advice to help correct a service line problem. But for the execution, that was all Orr.
“There’s not a lot of fear in her; she’s not cocky, but she’s confident,” Sara Hegerle said. “You can tell when she’s serving, she’s confident.”
Jamestown struggled to close Mandan out in the first set, and the visitors used that momentum to take a two-point lead early in set 2 after a net violation and a hitting error by the Blue Jays.
But Mandan served one into the net right away, giving the volley back to the Jays and putting Orr at the service line.
“We tell our kids to be aggressive no matter what, so sometimes that will happen,” said Mandan coach Anna Folk of the error. “It’s tough when you play a really strong, solid team. We tried to make some lineup changes to mix things up. They’re pretty solid, mentally. There’s not much that’s gonna rattle them.”
Folk called two timeouts during the long run, but neither appeared to slow Jamestown, which led 18-5 when Mandan’s Alecia Weiand floated a kill attempt just inside the back line to bring it to an end. The Blue Jays didn’t face much resistance in set 3.
Jenna Stilwell had a match-high 11 kills. Addie Eamon added six kills, and Josie Hegerle had five kills and 22 assists.
Sara Hegerle praised Mandan’s ability, noting the trouble the Braves have caused them. Mandan, which meets Dickinson at 2 p.m. in a loser-out match, was paced by Rachelle Harr’s six kills.
“People don’t give Mandan enough credit because they’re an 8-seed,” she said. “I guarantee they will be one of the best teams in time. They’ve got a lot of good players.”
West Region Tournament
Jamestown 3, Mandan 0
Mandan 17 9 12
Jamestown 25 25 25
Mandan: Kills, Rachelle Harr 6, Miranda Lowman 4. Assists, Lowman 7, Madysen Zander 6. Aces, Lowman 1. Blocks, Hannah Hanson 2. Digs, Sara Aune 10.
Jamestown: Kills, Jenna Stilwell 11, Addie Eamon 6, Josie Hegerle 5. Assists, Hegerle 22. Aces, Meghan Orr 4, Julina Niemeier 2. Blocks, Eamon 1, Stilwell 1. Digs, McKayla Orr 20, Meghan Orr 10, Niemeier 9.
Records: Mandan 11-26, Jamestown 31-3.
Sun sportswriter Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or email@example.com