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History in Bismarck: Jays win first-ever West Region top seed with sweep of Century

Chris Aarhus / The Sun Jamestown's Josie Hegerle (11), Julina Niemeier (14) and McKayla Keller celebrate during their 3-0 sweep at Bismarck Century on Tuesday night.1 / 2
Jamestown's Jenna Stilwell (6) and Addie Eamon (10) put a block on Century's Katie Scherr on Tuesday night. Chris Aarhus The Sun2 / 2

By Chris Aarhus

The Jamestown Sun

BISMARCK — Not even a slow start could shake the confidence of the West Region’s No. 1 team.

Not on this night.

Jamestown secured its first-ever No. 1 seed in dominant fashion, cruising to a 25-17, 25-21, 25-23 sweep of defending state champion Bismarck Century on Tuesday night at Century’s gym.

So dialed in were the Blue Jays that there was virtually no celebration after they won the first two games, which may have come from the fact that earlier this season, they won the first two games at home before the Patriots rallied to force the fifth game.

In this one, there were no emotional peaks or valleys for the Blue Jays, who will be the top seed when they host the West Region tournament Nov. 14 at Jamestown High School. They improved their record to 14-0 in the region and 28-3 overall.

“We know (Century’s) a great team and we just need to be calm and not overreact about things,” said senior libero McKayla Orr, who finished with 17 digs. “I’m just so proud of these girls.

“I think we made a statement tonight.”

Limited mistakes paid huge dividends for Jamestown, which especially showed in game 2. The Blue Jays gave Century only four points — a hitting error, passing error and two net violations. Century, on the other hand, gave the Blue Jays 13 points.

“That’s not so bad, is it?” Jamestown coach Sara Hegerle said with a big smile. “I thought we served well, too. Josie (Hegerle) typically misses how many in a game? I think she only missed one. When we don’t make errors, we do some nice things. We weren’t flashy, but the fact that they do it together is, I think, the key.”

And the back row was at it again, limiting Patriot kills. McKayla Keller had 12 digs and Julina Niemeier and Meghan Orr each added 11.

“Phenomenal,” senior setter Josie Hegerle said. “Defense wins us games, for sure.”

Everything went so right for Jamestown that Sara Hegerle struggled to point to one area that stood out, calling it one of the team’s best outings of the season.

“It’s like a blur,” she said. “All of our players, everyone played really well. The kids had one of their best matches of the year.”

It didn’t start out so rosy, as the Blue Jays fell behind 9-2 in game 1 thanks to a pair of Katie Scherr kills. Scherr finished with seven, but the big problem most of the night came from Century junior Jordyn Jossart, who hammered the left side repeatedly, finishing with 10 kills.

But Jamestown climbed out of that early hole, with help from senior Addie Eamon, who had four kills and a block. An ace from Julina Niemeier tied the game at 13 and the Blue Jays took control from there. Jamestown’s final three points came on Century errors or violations.

Four more kills and two blocks from Eamon made a huge difference in the second game, and Jamestown got out to a 17-8 lead. Still, there was no bigger help to Jamestown than Century’s errors, the last of which came from the service line to put Jamestown up 2-0 in the match. Eamon finished with 13 kills and three blocks.

Century (13-2 region, 27-5 overall) made sure Jamestown earned its sweep, battling the Blue Jays hard in game 3. The Patriots led 18-17 after a Jamestown hitting error, but three consecutive errors gave the Blue Jays a two-point lead. Century got within one at 24-23 on a Jamestown error, but Josie Hegerle’s tip kill ended the match.

“I think we’re gonna enjoy this one,” said Sara Hegerle, whose team closes out the regular season at Minot on Saturday and at Mandan on Tuesday. “This was one of our goals and to do it in this gym. I know I’ve never won in this gym. It was like a tournament atmosphere.”

Jamestown 3, Bismarck Century 0

Jamestown   25 25 25

Century   17 21 23

Jamestown: Kills, Addie Eamon 13, Josie Hegerle 7, Jenna Stilwell 5. Assists, Hegerle 22. Aces, Julina Niemeier 3, Jenna Stilwell 2. Blocks, Eamon 3. Digs, McKayla Orr 17, McKayla Keller 12, Niemeier 11, Meghan Orr 11.

Century: Kills, Jordyn Jossart 10, Katie Scherr 7.

Sun sportswriter Chris  Aarhus can be reached at (701) 952-8462 or