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Century defeats Jamestown for Class A volleyball crown

Back On Track: Blue Jays breeze past Williston

Jamestown's Jordan Paulson (22) tips the ball with blocking help from Courtney Peterson (14) in volleyball action Wednesday against Williston. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Falling short isn't always a bad thing.

Jamestown High School had a week to chew on its Oct. 10 loss at Bismarck Century, and as a result a largely reinvigorated flock of Blue Jays has emerged on the volleyball court.

Jamestown swept Williston for a second time this season Wednesday at Jerry Meyer Arena, one night after defeating a solid Mandan team 3-0 on the road. The Blue Jays were off to a 20-1 start before falling 3-2 to Century—Jamestown's first loss outside of in-season tournament play.

"We worked on getting our skills back, and mainly just getting back together as a team and getting our energy back," Jamestown senior outside hitter Jordan Paulson said. "Stay positive, stay focused and play for each other."

Jamestown (27-4) certainly did that for two sets against Williston (2-25). The Jays cruised 25-7 and 25-9 to start, but maybe relaxed a tad during 25-17 positive outcome in the third set. McKayla Kurtz (14) and Courtney Peterson (12) combined for 26 of the Jamestown's 42 kills in the match.

"That's kinda when teams come back to bite you," Jamestown coach Sara Hegerle said of the Jays' third frame. "Three-fourths of the time I thought we played a solid match, then we fell apart a little bit and Williston gained some momentum. But we turned it around pretty quick, cleaned it up and had some good serves."

Senior outside hitter Alyssa Ukestad sent a kill to the floor to breakup a 14-14 tie in the finale. A service ace by Peterson followed, which was one of 16 aces scored by the Blue Jays.

Williston junior Emily Lux posted a pair of kills in the first set, as just three of Williston's seven points of the frame were earned. Jamestown sailed out to an 8-1 lead in the second with senior all-state setter Megan Gaffaney and senior defensive specialist Olivia Nihill taking turns at the service line.

"We were disappointed (losing to Century), but we wanted to get in the gym right away and work hard," said Nihill, who finished Wednesday with nine digs. "We're feeling good, and we're ready to face more teams and finish hard against them.

"We definitely feel better," Paulson added. "A lot of pressure has been taken off of us."

Gaffaney finished with eight aces and 23 assists. Senior all-state libero Hannah Schiele led the Jays with 19 digs. Jamestown is still the top team in the West Region at 11-1.

A busy stretch of play awaits the Jays next week. Jamestown is at Bismarck Legacy and Bismarck St. Mary's Tuesday and Thursday, before hosting Dickinson on Friday.

"We just love to play volleyball, so I think we'll be fine," Nihill said. "Game days are fun."

Jamestown 3, Williston 0

WHS 25 25 25

JHS 7 9 17

Blue Jay statistics

Aces: Megan Gaffaney 8, Hannah Schiele 3, Alyssa Ukestad 2, Courtney Peterson 2, Olivia Nihill 1. Kills: McKayla Kurtz 14, Peterson 12, Gaffaney 6, Jordan Paulson 5, Abby Kallenbach 2, Ukestad 2, Kameron Selvig 1. Blocks: Kallenbach 1.5, Kurtz 1, Gaffaney .5. Assists: Gaffaney 23, Selvig 2, Kurtz 1, Peterson 1. Digs: Schiele 19, Ukestad 15, Nihill 9, Peterson 7, Kurtz 3, Gaffaney 2.

Records: Jamestown 27-4, 11-1 West Region; Williston 2-25, 1-13 West Region.