Keep it going: No. 2 Jays head to Mandan on a rollAfter losing a five-game match to Bismarck Century at home and a five-gamer to Dickinson on the road earlier this season, the Jamestown High School volleyball team could have just as easily snowballed the rest of the regular season.
By: By Chris Aarhus, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
After losing a five-game match to Bismarck Century at home and a five-gamer to Dickinson on the road earlier this season, the Jamestown High School volleyball team could have just as easily snowballed the rest of the regular season.
But the Blue Jays fought back, winning 11 West Region matches in a row, 10 of which were sweeps.
The big run helped Jamestown clinch the No. 2 seed for today’s West Region tournament in Mandan. Jamestown (24-8) plays seventh-seeded Minot (15-18) at 5 p.m. in the quarterfinals.
The Blue Jays swept Minot easily in both regular-season matches, but nobody on Jamestown’s roster is taking anything for granted. The Jays were seeded third last year before losing both matches and bowing out.
“This team has learned,” JHS coach Sara Heglere said. “We’re not approaching it as a huge deal. We’re gonna go in there on business and take care of business.”
Of Jamestown’s three losses in conference play, two came from top-seeded Century. But Hegerle doesn’t mind; it’s just two more competitive matches that were played on a schedule that included matches at the Southwest Minnesota Challenge, a prestigious tournament featuring some of the most competitive schools in the neighboring state.
“I think that’s one of the reasons we responded after (the losses to Century and Dickinson),” Hegerle said. “The level we had been playing at against those teams from Minnesota — that just helped us tremendously.
“I strongly believe the better the teams you play throughout the season, the better your team will be.”
But the trick is to find out how to use last year’s crushing defeat to the advantage of this year’s squad. Between forgetting about it and specifically reminding the team for motivational purposes, Hegerle said both have worked at different times.
“It’s a little bit of both,” she said. “We do talk about it because it’s in every single person’s mind. … They went through it. They know how crappy it felt.”
There’s no doubting what this year’s squad has accomplished. It swept Bismarck High twice and beat Dickinson in four the last time out. The Jays have done so with all 11 girls on the court at different times each match.
Hegerle said that’s been a big positive for Jamestown.
“All 11 kids have played in every match — I don’t think another (Class A) team in North Dakota can say that,” Hegerle said. “We’re not just playing everybody because that’s the kind of coach I am. I’ve never been that type of coach. … I’ve really enjoyed that this year. Everybody contributes in different ways.”
And though the Jays aren’t looking beyond Minot, a rematch with Century is a fitting secondary goal for a team looking to get to the top.
“I would say they’re pretty eager,” Hegerle said. “We’re hoping (we play them) again. They are a really good team. I think our team wants another shot at them.”
Sun sports writer Chris Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org