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'Everything It Takes': Blue Jays prepared for state tourney

jhs volleball seniors jump shot.jpg
The Jamestown High School senior volleyball members, from left, Jessica Walter, Jessa Anderson, Jessie Paulson, Kameron Selvig, Courtney Mack, Alex Nihill, and Rachel Woodley are preparing this week for the upcoming state tournament in Fargo. John M. Steiner / The Sun


If one stands outside Jerry Meyer Arena during volleyball practice, the same sounds and energy of game night can be felt.

Spectators will hear and feel more of the same this Thursday at the Fargodome.

The Jamestown High School volleyball team is headed to its fourth consecutive Class A state tournament this week in Fargo. The Blue Jays will face the East’s No. 3 seed Fargo Shanley in the opening quarterfinals at 3 p.m.

“I am excited for all the energy and people,” Blue Jay defensive specialist Courtney Mack said.

The Jays faced off against the Deacons in the team’s first match of the season. Shanley topped the Jays 2-1 at the Bismarck Invite on Aug. 30, but Jamestown head coach Sara Hegerle said the Jays are not the same team they were three months ago.

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“We have some pretty good fighters,” Hegerle said. “I think if our kids get comfortable on the court right away, set the tone and not be nervous, I think we have a very good chance at getting to round two.

"They know that this is their last hurrah for the year and, for many, their career, so why not go out and have fun and make the best of whatever happens?"

While the Jays cannot control the outcome of the quarterfinal match, Hegerle and her squad are prepared schematically to top the Deacons. Shanley's roster boasts four middles at 5-foot-11 or taller in the front row. The Blue Jays said a steady and consistent defense, off the block and in the back row, will be the key to clinch the match.

“We noticed that we can definitely out scrap them,” Jessa Anderson said. “That’s something that is really strong with this team. We just need to make sure we’re like that again.”

Anderson was part of the 2018 JHS volleyball squad that placed seventh at the state tournament. Senior outside hitter and co-captain, Jessie Paulson, said hopes are higher for this year's seven Blue Jay seniors due to stronger team belief and chemistry.

“We were just happy to be at state last year because we didn’t think we would go,” Anderson said. “This year we believe we can win a state championship.”

Paulson added: "We are so much closer than we were last year. We are so much more of a family. I have never been on a team like this where even at the end of the season I am still happy to be at practice.”

Jamestown enters the tournament as the West Region's No. 2 seed, behind West Region tournament champion Bismarck Century. Jamestown's Kameron Selvig, the West's 2019 senior athlete of the year, said that knowing the team has the ability to compete for a state championship this week adds some pressure, but that it also adds to the excitement.

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“It’s a lot of pressure, but I think it is good pressure,” said Selvig, whose older sister, Rainey, played on Jamestown's 2013 state championship volleyball team. “I think it pushes us to be better -- to push ourselves to, push each other.

“I think this team really has everything it takes to win and I think we all know that," Selvig added. "Especially with how we played in WDA really just showed how much we believed we could do it.”

That belief, coupled with talent and chemistry, has led to a 24-6 overall record for the Blue Jays to this point, and it hasn't just been the 15 Blue Jays on the varsity roster that have made the squad successful.

“So many people support us and that gives us more motivation during our games and practice,” Paulson said of the Blue Jays' fan base. “Just knowing so many people believe in us is pretty awesome.”

Class A Volleyball State Tournament

At Fargodome

Nov. 21

G1: Mandan (20-8) vs. Fargo Davies (30-1), 1 p.m.

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G2: Jamestown (24-6) vs. Fargo Shanley (17-11), 3 p.m.

G3: Century (26-2) vs. Valley City (18-11), 5 p.m.

G4: Bismarck (21-7) vs. West Fargo Sheyenne (23-5), 7 p.m.

Nov. 22

G5: Loser G1 vs. Loser G2, 1 p.m.

G6: Loser G3 vs. Loser G4, 3 p.m.

G7: Winner G1 vs. Winner G2, 5 p.m.

G8: Winner G3 vs. Winner G4, 7 p.m.

Nov. 23

Seventh: Loser G5 vs. Loser G6, 10 a.m.

Fifth: Winner G5 vs. Winner G6, noon.

Third: Loser G7 vs. Loser G8, 2 p.m.

Championship: Winner G7 vs. Winner G8, 7 p.m.

Class B Volleyball State Tournament

At Fargodome

Nov. 21

G1: Our Redeemer’s (40-4) vs. Dickinson Trinity (28-13), 1 p.m.

G2: Langdon-EM (37-3) vs. Flasher (34-3), 3 p.m.

G3: Oakes (35-3) vs. Stanley (22-12), 5 p.m.

G4: Thompson (26-5) vs. Oak Grove (28-7), 7 p.m.

Nov. 22

G5: Loser G1 vs. Loser G2, 1 p.m.

G6: Loser G3 vs. Loser G4, 3 p.m.

G7: Winner G1 vs. Winner G2, 5 p.m.

G8: Winner G3 vs. Winner G4, 7 p.m.

Nov. 23

Seventh: Loser G5 vs. Loser G6, 10 a.m.

Fifth: Winner G5 vs. Winner G6, noon.

Third: Loser G7 vs. Loser G8, 2 p.m.

Championship: Winner G7 vs. Winner G8, 5 p.m.

Gerber is a sports writer for the Jamestown Sun.
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