Jays top Minot, move into semifinalsPostseason test No. 1 for the Blue Jays volleyball team is in the books, and Jamestown aced it. After composing themselves following a 25-22 loss to Minot in the opening game of round one of the West Region tournament in Mandan on Thursday, the No. 2-seeded Blue Jays routed the No. 7-seeded Majettes over the next three games, taking the match 25-13, 25-15, 25-15.
By: By Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Postseason test No. 1 for the Blue Jays volleyball team is in the books, and Jamestown aced it.
After composing themselves following a 25-22 loss to Minot in the opening game of round one of the West Region tournament in Mandan on Thursday, the No. 2-seeded Blue Jays routed the No. 7-seeded Majettes over the next three games, taking the match 25-13, 25-15, 25-15.
Jamestown rolls on to face the tournament’s No. 3 team, the Dickinson Midgets, in tonight’s semifinals at 7. Dickinson defeated Mandan 3-0 in the final quarterfinal match on Thursday.
The Blue Jays (25-8) and the Midgets (25-9) split their two regular season matches this fall. Dickinson defeated Jamestown 3-2 back on Sept. 13 in Dickinson, but more recently the Blue Jays powered past Dickinson 3-1 on their home court on Oct. 16.
A win tonight for the Jays would not only secure the team a spot in Saturday’s West Region championship match against either Bismarck Century or Bismarck High, but it would also cement a state Class A tournament berth for the Jays.
The state volleyball tournament is scheduled for Nov. 15-17 in Minot.
“Dickinson is a good team and we are going to have to come out and all play together,” JHS coach Sara Hegerle said. “The pressure is actually off a little bit, because we were able to get that first-round win. The pressure and the fear is kind of gone, so now we can get down to playing our brand of volleyball (today).”
Jamestown was certainly feeling the effects of postseason pressure during the opening set against Minot. But after falling into an early hole, Jamestown’s rally really started in the first game as they were able to fight back and only fall by three points in the opener.
“We had a lot of hitting errors and so many balls that hit the floor,” Hegerle said. “We had a lot of young players on the court and they really struggled with nerves. They had us in game one early, but we came back and had some good momentum going.”
Once the Jays were able to shake the nerves, however, Minot really had no answer as Jamestown proved why it’s one of the better teams in the state this season.
Jamestown junior middle hitter Addie Eamon had a monster match, swinging at a clip of nearly .500 en route to a team-leading 14 kills. Junior setter Josie Hegerle also distributed the ball with effectiveness over the final three games, dishing out 27 total assists.
Hegerle also stepped to the service line and helped the Blue Jays serve up 9 straight points to start Game 2.
“That was a good start for us,” Sara Hegerle said. “We also started passing well and settled in a little bit. When we pass well, we hit well, and our hitters starting hitting the ball better and blocking some balls.
“I said, ‘Welcome back. I missed you guys,’” Hegerle mused. “This is the same team I’ve seen all season.”
Julina Niemeier and Josie Hegerle led the Jays from the stripe with 3 aces apiece. Billie Buchanan and Siri Jystad chipped in with 8 kills each.
McKayla Orr led the team in the back row racking up 24 digs, as Jamestown can now shift its focus to today’s matchup vs. the Midgets.
West Region Tournament
Jamestown 3, Minot 1
Jamestown 22 25 25 25
Minot 25 13 15 15
Aces: Julina Niemeier 3, Josie Hegerle 3, McKayla Orr 1, Meghan Orr 1, Siri Jystad 1.
Kills: Addie Eamon 14, Billie Buchanan 8, Jystad 8, Hannah Heilman 6.
Blocks: Eamon 3, Hegerle 1, Jenna Stilwell 1, McKayla Keller 1.
Assists: Hegerle 27, Rebekah Horgan 9.
Digs: McKayla Orr 24, Niemeier 15, Meghan Orr 12.
Records: Jamestown 25-8; Minot 15-19.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org