Webster defines mojo as a magic spell, talisman, hex or a charm.
One thing is certain. In the uncertain world of athletics, it's much more difficult to gain mojo than lose it.
Jamestown's volleyball team has regained it. The Blue Jays were sailing along with just one loss when they had a so-so Fargo Scheels tournament followed by a five-set loss to Century.
The Blue Jays have rebounded from that short journey in the wilderness to win three straight 3-0 matches. The latest victory was a 25-17, 25-15, 25-18 Tuesday road sweep of Legacy that left Jamestown 13-1 in West Region action.
"We've definitely got our mojo back," said Alyssa Ukestad, a 5-foot-5 senior who contributed nine kills, 20 digs and an ace to Tuesday's victory.
Ukestad said what got Jamestown back on track was the nuts-and-bolts stuff—hard work and concentration on the ultimate goal.
"We started to focus a lot more in practice. Nobody likes to lose, so we came out fighting," she said.
Some of that fight was on display in Tuesday's first game. Down 11-7 after a lethargic start, the Jays turned on the jets and caught the Sabers at 13-13. Jamestown outscored Legacy 12-3 the rest of the way to take the first game by eight points.
Jamestown made things easier on itself in the next two games. The Jays broke away from a 6-6 tie and led the rest of the way for a 25-15 verdict. The visitors led from start to finish in the third game, jumping to a 5-0 lead and opening a 19-10 gap before prevailing 25-18.
The Blue Jays did the deed with balance. Behind Ukestad's nine kills came 5-10 junior Courtney Peterson and senior Mckayla Kurtz with eight counters apiece. Megan Gaffaney, a 5-8 senior, turned in a well-rounded effort—six kills, 29 assists and 16 digs.
Ukestad led the way with five kills in the first set, Kurtz had a team-high four markers in the second and Peterson logged five counters in the third.
That kind of balance is pretty much the norm for Jamestown, according to Ukestad.
"We rely on each other because everyone can put it down," Ukestad said.
There were no surprises in the match statistics. Jamestown built a 38-26 edge in kills, right in line with a cumulative 75-50 score. Legacy had a 5-2 edge in blocks and a 2-1 advantage in aces. Jamestown was charged with six service aces, Legacy with nine.
Jamestown took advantage of an 8-2 disparity in violations.
Two violations. That's awesome," Ukestad said. "That has to do with our practices and focusing a lot harder."
Since joining the JHS varsity as a freshman, Ukestad has been both a back row player and a hitter. This year she's a hybrid, and enjoying it.
"This year we needed an outside hitter, so this year I'm a hitter and defense," she observed.
The setback disrupted Legacy's five-match winning streak and left the Sabers with a 13-3 regional mark.
Legacy coach Jennifer Astle said she knew from the outset that Jamestown was going to be a handful.
"They're a tough team to get in the gym and compete against. ... Mistakes can cost you greatly," she said.
"When we made a mistake, we kind of held onto it instead of going on to the next point," Astle added. "I felt like we played holding our breath all night. We never got into the match and battled."
Both teams return to action Thursday, Legacy playing at Century and Jamestown visiting St. Mary's.
Jamestown 3, Legacy 0
JHS 25 25 25
BLHS 17 15 18
Jamestown—Kills: Alyssa Ukestad 9, Courtney Peterson 8, Mckayla Kurtz 8, Megan Gaffaney 6. Blocks: Kurtz 1.5. Assists: Gaffaney 29. Digs: Hannah Schiele 35, Ukestad 20, Gaffaney 16, Olivia Nihill 11, Peterson 11. Aces: Ukestad 1.
Legacy—Kills: Whitney Thomas 9, Ashley Hulm 5, Taryn Allmaras 5, Courtney Schroeder 4. Blocks: Hulm 1.5, Allmaras 1, Schroeder 1. Assists: Allison Guthmiller 15, Emma Fricke 9. Digs: Becca Nitsch 21, Thomas 17, Kayla Schreiner 17, Fricke 10. Aces: Thomas 2, Nitsch 1.
Records: Jamestown 13-1 West Region, 29-4 overall; Legacy 13-3, 24-10.