Optimistic outlook: Confidence on the rise in JHS volleyball campBrimming with optimism, Jamestown High School volleyball coach Sara Hegerle is confident her Blue Jays can make the Class A state tournament. But Jamestown hasn’t been to state in 11 years, and Hegerle said getting there won’t be an easy task.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Brimming with optimism, Jamestown High School volleyball coach Sara Hegerle is confident her Blue Jays can make the Class A state tournament.
But Jamestown hasn’t been to state in 11 years, and Hegerle said getting there won’t be an easy task.
“Certainly, we need to work to improve,” Hegerle said. “You can see that we’re starting to play with a little more confidence.
“We had two-a-days last week for our varsity players, so we were practicing four or five hours a day. I think that’s gonna help us the rest of the season to set the pace where we want it to be. That’s the kind of culture we’re trying to create in our gym.”
Jamestown, which opens its season at a Bismarck tournament on Friday and Saturday, has plenty of promise to back up Hegerle’s confidence.
Junior McKayla Orr returns after an all-state season as a libero to lead the Jays’ back row. Also coming back is dominant middle hitters Siri Jystad and Addie Eamon. Add to that setter Josie Hegerle, Sara’s daughter, and Jamestown could have something special in the making.
“This is a real special group of kids,” Sara Hegerle said. “They’ve done a lot of work in the offseason. They’re ready to do something special. You can see it in their eyes. They’re totally focused in practice. I don’t even have to get on them. The kids are stepping up and getting on each other.”
That could be driven by the amount of returning players Jamestown has that had to experience last year’s two-and-out at the West Region tournament in Minot after the Blue Jays had proved to be one of the tougher teams in the conference during the regular season.
“I don’t think there’s a day that goes by that some of these kids don’t think about what could have been, what should have been,” Hegerle said. “They did the work during the season that should have gotten them to the next level. You don’t want to dwell on it, but you want to get to the next step. We have to be able to take that pressure and do what we need to in a pressure situation.
“I think we basically played not to lose at WDA last year.”
Hegerle said she expects Jystad and Eamon to score the bulk of the points in the middle.
“We have our middles, Siri and Addie, and we rely on them for a lot offense,” she said. “We were successful there last year. We certainly feel that’s where we’re gonna go to for big points.”
On the outside, Hegerle said she’ll look to sophomore Jenna Stilwell and senior Billie Buchanon. Beca Horgan will be the other setter in the offense, and Julina Niemeier should contribute on the back row, as will Megan Orr.
Hegerle said this year’s team is deeper than last year’s.
“We have a lot more kids that will play in the game,” Hegerle said. “Last year, we had eight. This year, 10 or 11 kids could play.”
Hegerle said she envisions the Blue Jays competing with the best in the West Region. She picked her squad to be at the top with Bismarck High and Bismarck Century, with Minot and Dickinson squeezing into the top five.
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at email@example.com