Blue Jays sail past Braves
Sara Hegerle, coach of West Region-leading Jamestown, thought her team had hit a midseason lull.
After an uneven showing at the Fargo tournament, and a narrow loss to Bismarck Century, the Blue Jays were looking to get their groove back Tuesday night against Mandan.
Consider the groove found.
Jamestown led from nearly start to finish in a 25-22, 25-13, 25-15 sweep of the Braves, who entered the match sitting fourth in the conference.
"Our kids competed hard tonight. There was very little drama," Hegerle said. "It was a good, clean ballgame."
It was an uphill climb all night for the Braves, who did not lead until a 7-5 advantage in the third game, which did not last long.
"Jamestown's good. If you don't come out with fire and intensity they're going to hand it to you and that's kind of what happened tonight," Mandan coach Anna Folk said.
The Blue Jays, who improved to 10-1 in the West and 26-4 overall, had the offense humming all night. Five Jamestown players had five kills or more in a balanced offensive performance.
"I thought we passed extremely well and were able to mix up all of our hitters and keep everybody involved," Hegerle said. "We were in-system a lot. Things go much smoother when that happens."
Courtney Peterson posted a double-double with a team-best 10 kills to go with 18 digs. McKayla Kurtz was right behind with nine kills, while Megan Gaffaney added seven to with her match-best 24 assists.
Mandan's best spurt came early in the third game when two kills from Olivia Moe and an ace from Katie Weiand gave the Braves a 7-5 advantage. But the lead was short-lived. Put-aways by Alyssa Ukestad and Abby Kallenbach put Jamestown up 12-9 and it was smooth sailing from the there.
Moe and Zander each connected for seven kills for the Braves, who fell to 8-4 in the West and 19-12 overall. Moe also topped Mandan defensively with 18 digs. Lizi Leingang added 17.
But in the end a slow start was too much to overcome for the home team.
"We just came out kind of flat and it never picked up much from there," Folk said. "When you get behind good teams like we did, it makes for a pretty short night."
The Braves get a shot at redemption tonight, with a short trip over to Legacy to face the third-place Sabers (9-2, 21-9). Jamestown faces Williston at Jerry Meyer Arena tonight at 7 p.m.
"We know what we're capable of and that's kind of the frustrating thing," Folk said. "We haven't hit our peak yet. We still have a lot of room for growth. Hopefully we can salvage something (tonight)."
Jamestown 3, Mandan 0
JHS 25 25 25
MHS 22 13 15
Jamestown—Aces: Alyssa Ukestad 2, Jordan Paulson 1, Megan Gaffaney 1, Olivia Nihill 2, Hannah Schiele 1. Kills: Courtney Peterson 10, McKayla Kurtz 9, Gaffaney 7, Abby Kallenbach 6, Ukestad 5, Paulson 2, Kameron Selvig 1. Blocks: Gaffaney 1.5, Kallenbach 1, Kurtz .5. Assists: Gaffaney 24, Selvig 2. Digs: Schiele 18, Peterson 15, Nihill 11, Ukestad 10, Gaffaney 5, Kurtz 4, Kallenbach 2, Paulson 1.
Mandan: Aces: Katie Weiand 1, Olivia Moe 1. Kills: Megan Zander 7, Moe 7, Lakyn Darras 6, Sydney Walters 3. Blocks: Zander 1. Assists: Kennedy Harris 13, Weiand 11, Lizi Leingang 2, Zander 1. Digs: Moe 18, Leingang 17, Walters 11, Weiand 8.
Records: Jamestown 10-1 West Region, 26-4; Mandan 8-4, 19-12.