Jays sweep MandanIn the words of the late, great country music guitar-picking legend Jerry Reed, when you’re hot, you’re hot. Riding a three-match West Region winning streak, the Jamestown Blue Jay volleyball team dismantled the visiting Mandan Braves 3-0 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd on Tuesday night, pushing the team’s streak to four matches.
By: By Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
In the words of the late, great country music guitar-picking legend Jerry Reed, when you’re hot, you’re hot.
Riding a three-match West Region winning streak, the Jamestown Blue Jay volleyball team dismantled the visiting Mandan Braves 3-0 in front of an enthusiastic home crowd on Tuesday night, pushing the team’s streak to four matches.
All four matches have also been clean sweeps over their opponents — Bismarck, Bismarck St. Mary’s, Williston, and now Mandan — as Jamestown has gone a perfect 12-0 in game play.
Jamestown coach Sara Hegerle said she’d rather have her team flying under the radar than making headlines, but that’s a difficult thing to do with the statement the Blue Jays are currently making to the rest of the West Region.
“I feel like we’re making a statement tonight. But we just want to concentrate on tonight and then we’ll concentrate on Minot,” Hegerle said, as Jamestown’s next match is at Minot on Friday. “We don’t want to look too far down the road. We don’t want people paying attention to us, we don’t want that pressure.
“It’s going to be there, but we’re just kind of trying to get by right now.”
Jamestown improved to 7-2 in the West and 14-5 overall with its 25-20, 27-25, 25-22 win over the Braves. The Blue Jays used what could only be considered as a miraculous run to overcome a large deficit in the second game to come out on top.
Trailing Mandan 24-16, and with their back against the wall, the Jays mounted a perfect 8-0 run to knot the score at 24-24, before back-to-back kills by junior Josie Hegerle closed out the 27-25 Blue Jay victory in the game.
The Blue Jays were getting contributions from all over the court all match long. Senior hitter Siri Jystad recorded four of her 10 kills and senior Rebekah Horgan posted an ace and five of her 10 assists during Jamestown’s big run in the second.
“It’s important to go through things like that. Sometimes you get complacent, and think, ‘Well, we’re going to win this game. Even if we go four,’” Hegerle said. “We kind of have this unspoken confidence, but you have to play off that confidence. You have to prove it on the court. We weren’t proving it, and then all of a sudden they just kicked it in.
“I got on them a little bit,” Hegerle added. “This is just a regular season game. What happens at the WDA when somebody puts pressure on us? Are we going to fold into ourselves, or are we going to come out and fight, and they did tonight.”
The comeback victory in the second took the steam out of Mandan’s sails. Jamestown opened up the third and final game with a 10-1 run, essentially putting the Braves squarely on their heels.
“We stopped doing what got us that eight-point lead,” Mandan coach Anna Neubauer said. “We stopped being aggressive and got a little nervous.”
Mandan fell to 10-12 and 4-5 in the west with the loss.
“I was very happy with our play. We’re improving every match,” Neubauer said. “This match we had serve-receive, we had blocks, and we had kills. Jamestown doesn’t let things drop, so we knew we had a challenge, but I think we played how we wanted to play.”
The Braves were led by Lexi Goldade’s seven kills and five blocks.
Jamestown’s 10-1 run to start the third was highlighted by an impressive performance from sophomore Julina Niemeier. Listed as the second shortest player on Jamestown’s roster at 5-foot-1, Niemeier brought a big game to the service line, rifling off four of her match-high six aces — three of which came consecutively — during the Blue Jay run.
The Braves battled back to within three points, but Jamestown ultimately got the game and the match, 25-22. Addie Eamon also posted 10 kills in the match for Jamestown, while Hegerle posted 17 assists and libero McKayla Orr racked up 24 digs for the winning team.
“(Niemeier) is a strong server. We have Addie who’s a nice blocker. Siri does a nice job in the middle. Josie sets up the ball nice and she also hits. Billie (Buchanan) is big on the outside,” Hegerle said. “We just have so many different skilled players, and they’re so fun to coach that way.”
And, by getting all that skill to come together on the court, the Blue Jays are currently finding success and are also eyeing the top of the West Region standings.
“I read them a story before we played tonight called The Migrating Geese. They fly in the formation of a V, and when one falls off someone else takes the lead,” Hegerle said. “We have so many great players on our team that when one’s not having a great game someone else is going to step in, and we can’t be successful without all 11 of them.
“We complement each other well, and this group is so unique that way.”
Jamestown 3, Mandan 0
Mandan 20 25 22
Jamestown 25 27 25
Mandan — Kills, Lexi Goldade 7, JaeLyn Russell 5; Assists, Sydney Sneed 15; Aces, Sasha Hopfauf 3, Russell 2; Blocks, Goldade 5, Russell 5, Rachelle Harr 4; Digs, Stephanie Harr 18, Sneed 16, Russell 11.
Jamestown — Kills, Addie Eamon 10, Siri Jystad 10, Billie Buchanan 5, Josie Hegerle 5; Assists, Hegerle 17, Rebekah Horgan 10; Aces, Julina Niemeier 6, Horgan 2, McKayla Orr 2, Jystad 2; Blocks, Hegerle 1; Digs, McKayla Orr 24, Niemeier 15.
Records: Jamestown 14-5, 7-2 West Region; Mandan 10-12, 4-5 West Region.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com