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Muscling Through: Blue Jays get past Midgets in four

Jamestown's Megan Gaffaney sets the ball Friday during high school volleyball action against Dickinson in Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun1 / 3
Jamestown's Abby Kallenbach gets a piece of the ball Friday during a block attempt with Courtney Peterson against Dickinson in Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 3
With an assist by Megan Gaffaney (10) Jamestown's McKayla Kurtz gets a kill over Dickinson's Peyton Selle Friday in volleyball action. John M. Steiner / The Sun3 / 3

Teams can't fall asleep across from Megan Gaffaney.

Jamestown High School's floor general on the volleyball court scored 12 kills Friday against Dickinson at Jerry Meyer Arena, and Gaffaney caught the Midgets napping with at least a half-dozen of them.

The Jays' senior setter also finished with 39 assists, helping Jamestown defeat Dickinson 3-1 with one regular-season match left to play Monday.

"Transition plays especially, when they're all still scrambling. I like to dump it over I guess," Gaffaney said. "Just get them out of system, something else to look at."

Gaffaney's play overshadowed a rough patch in the third set by the home team. Leading the match 2-0, a combination of solid play up front by the Midgets and five straight unforced errors by Jamestown led to an early 12-7 Midgets advantage. Dickinson would lead by as many as seven in a 25-19 set victory.

The Midgets' Mariah Mortensen, Morgan Kainze and Peyton Selle all sent early kills to the floor in the frame. Kainze (14) and Selle (11) combined for 25 kills in the match.

"Honestly, I don't know what happened," Gaffaney said. "We were kinda falling apart a little bit, but it was a good wake-up call for us I feel. I think we needed that."

Jamestown coach Sara Hegerle agreed. The game counted double in the standings and the Jays are tied atop the West Region with Bismarck Century at 16-1.

"That's happened with us before, where we're not playing well and then we kinda muscle our way through," Hegerle said. "So we needed a reality check and to realize that showing up is not a win."

A kill and back-to-back aces from Jamestown's Courtney Peterson in set 1 helped the Jays jump ahead 9-5 after splitting the first 10 points with the Midgets. The Jays won the frame 25-19.

Outside-hitting phenom McKayla Kurtz sent three kills to the floor early in set 2, which the Jays won 25-17. Kurtz posted a match-high 18 kills, which was backed by 14 from Peterson.

"We just have some problems maintaining, and then it's tough to maintain when you're playing one of, if not, the best team in the conference," Dickinson coach Jay Schobinger said. "But overall our kids went out and did some good things and battled a little bit."

After losing the third, Jamestown dominated the fourth. Peterson, Gaffaney, Alyssa Ukestad, Abby Kallenbach and Kameron Selvig all sent balls to the floor in a 25-10 no-doubter.

Senior libero Hannah Schiele (24) and Ukestad (20) combined for 44 digs.

"I think the end of that game showed what we can do," Gaffaney said. "I think we'll be fine."

Jamestown hosts Bismarck High at 7 p.m. Monday with the West Region's top seed on the line. Jamestown claims the regular season conference crown with a victory and will take the No. 1 seed with them into the West Region tournament.

The conference tourney is scheduled for Nov. 9-11 in Mandan.

"We're going to have to have a lot more energy than we did tonight, and we will because it's Bismarck High," Hegerle said. "We'll get some rest and hopefully come back hard on Monday."

Jamestown 3, Dickinson 1

DHS 19 17 25 10

JHS 25 25 19 25

DHS—Assists: Kills: Morgan Kainz 14, Peyton Selle 11, Mariah Mortensen 7, Lexi Jordheim 2, Lauren Jorda 2, Kaylee Showalter 1. Assists: Jorda 30. Digs: Jordheim 15, Kendryn Bullinger 12, Selle 11, Marley McChesney 8, Showalter 5. Blocks: Mortensen 5, Kainz 1.

JHS—Aces: Courtney Peterson 3, Jordan Paulson 1, Alyssa Ukestad 1, Olivia Nihill 1. Kills: McKayla Kurtz 18, Peterson 14, Gaffaney 12, Ukestad 9, Abby Kallenbach 6, Kameron Selvig 2, Paulson 1. Blocks: Kallenbach .5, Gaffaney .5. Assists: Gaffaney 39, Selvig 4, Hannah Schiele 2, Paulson 1. Digs: Schiele 24, Ukestad 20, Peterson 8, Gaffaney 7, Nihill 7, Kallenbach 3, Paulson 2, Kurtz 2.

Records: Jamestown 32-4, 16-1 WR; Dickinson 8-26, 3-13 West Region.

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

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