STATE TITLE REMATCH: Patriots best Jays in three sets
This was a game Jamestown High School volleyball and Bismarck Century both had circled on its calendars going into Thursday night's matchup at Jerry Meyer Arena.
It was the first time the Blue Jays and Patriots have seen each other since the Class A state title game, where the Patriots prevailed in five sets to take home the crown.
With both teams courting a mostly fresh and young roster it was the two state-experienced outside hitters of Lauren Ware and Julia Fitterer that made the difference for Century as it cruised to a 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-13) over the Blue Jays.
"I'm pleased with how our girls played with four sophomores and kids that weren't even in this gym last year," said Patriots coach Jamie Zastoupil. "I'm pleased with the fight they had and how they won in this atmosphere. Jamestown has a big fan base, it's loud and hard to play.
"We both are looking at two different teams after we both lost some big players."
Jamestown controlled most of the first set, besides not taking more than a two-point lead for the first 28 scores of the contest. Eventually Century pulled away after scoring seven of the last eight points of the set, including four kills by Ware.
The Blue Jays were leading 20-14 in the second set but once again the Patriots came back to score 11 of the last 14 points to close out the second set.
"It's one of those things where it's good and bad," said Jamestown coach Sara Hegerle. "To play a team where you have a chance to win a set and you don't is really deflating. How do you get your kids to believe until they win a close set? It's a vicious circle that at some point we have break through."
After allowing a six-point lead vanish in the second set, Jamestown couldn't regroup in the third frame and lost 25-13.
"They never started slow until that third set," Hegerle said, referring to the slow start in a five-set loss to Bismarck Legacy on Aug. 28. "We stuck to our game plan right away of passing well and serving tough.
"Eventually losing close sets wears on you and takes the wind right out of your sails."
Even with Century scoring lots of kills, Jamestown hung in the contest with stellar defensive play.
During the second point of the match, the Blue Jays stuffed back-to-back kill attempts by Ware, a dangerous 6-foot-4 outside hitter, until Fitterer finally found a hole in the defense. Many other times throughout the contest Jamestown would be able to contain Century's attacks.
"Our plan was hitting to the setter so they couldn't go to Ware all the time," Hegerle said. "A lot of our kids stuck to that plan. Ware is a great competitor and kid."
The Blue Jays had 35 digs throughout the match, including a team-leading 10 by Grace Hegerle, seven by Courtney Peterson, six by Kameron Selvig and five by libero Rachel Schiele.
"I would we played really good defense and passed well," Hegerle said. "I thought Grace and Rachel really defended well. They weren't really afraid and fought for big points."
Jamestown will travel to Marshall (Minn.) today for a two-day, five-game South West Challenge Tournament.
"Those are going to be five tough matches, that's why we go," Hegerle said. "We pay much attention to the team because we don't know them. We're just focused on us."
Bismarck Century 3, Jamestown 0
BC 25 25 25
JHS 19 23 13
Blue Jay highlights
Kills: Courtney Peterson 5, Grace Hegerle 5, Kameron Selvig 4. Assists: Selvig 13. Digs: Hegerle 10, Peterson 7, Selvig 6, Rachel Schiele 5. Aces: Selvig 1, Brielle Reidinger 1.
Records: Jamestown 3-2. Bismarck Century 8-3.