Blue Jays' fight and grit comes out Tuesday against Century
The Jamestown High School volleyball team hosted Bismarck Century on Tuesday.
JAMESTOWN — Sara Hegerle has been saying it from the time she started coaching in Jamestown.
Jamestown kids fight ... they are tough ... they work for everything they get.
It's been the M.O. of the Jays since the beginning and Tuesday night was no exception — it just didn't end the way the Jays wanted it to.
Jamestown dropped to Century 24-26, 22-25, 25-23, 23-25 to fall to 4-2 in the West Region and 11-2 overall. The Patriots are undefeated in conference play at 4-0 while overall the Patriots are 10-1.
"We had opportunities to win in each of those sets," Coach Hegerle said. "That third set, especially, we showed some grit. Our defense is gritty. We were flying all over the place. I am proud of them. That's a good team we just played but if we play at this level in November, we're going to get to State and maybe make a run there."
The road doesn't get any easier for the Blue Jays as they are slated to face off against the West's current leaders, Bismarck High, on Tuesday in the capital city. The match is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.
Sets don't get much more intense than set No. 1.
The Jays were leading for the majority of the first 17 points, but the Patriots aren't anything if not good athletes. The defending state champs managed to tie the game leaders on eight separate occasions.
After the Jays came back from the 2-0 deficit to start, they didn't give up the lead until mid-way through the first. Down by one, Century knotted things up at 14 then took the lead 15-14.
The next two points went to the Jays to put them back in the lead 16-15. From there the Patriots went on a 6-1 run to establish a 21-17 lead.
That's when it got exciting.
A kill from Haylie Hakanson made it 21-18 Patriots. Hakanson and Makenna Nold were the Blue Jays' kill leaders Tuesday night, both blasting 10 past the unsuspecting Century defense.
"Haylie is a killer," Hegerle said. "She played well — her's has just been a confidence issue and tonight it was not an issue. She's gaining a lot of confidence as a volleyball player and as an athlete. It's awesome. She deserves all of the recognition she gets."
Hakanson, a senior middle and three-year varsity team member also managed a team-high of 3.5 blocks and a pair of aces.
"Listen, Hegerle said. "Bre (Oettle) normally goes in for (Hakanson) because Bre is a good server and a good defender but Haylie can do that too. We just wanted to give all of our kids the chance to play. Haylie played really well."
After Hankson's kill gave her team the side-out, Century responded with a pair of kills that put them within two of claiming the first set but A 6-0 run by the Jays put them within one of taking the set.
The tension between the two teams made everyone besides the 12 girls on the court lose their heads in the excitement.
An unfortunate bounce inside the 10-footline tied the game at 24. That was all the momentum Century needed to put the first, 45-minute set to bed. Logan Nissley paced the Patriots' offense with a whopping 21 kills while Eden Fridley tacked on 12 more. Claire Bauman was no slouch either, knocking 11 balls past the hands of the Blue Jays.
Still, unlike some other teams that face Century, the Jays didn't give up any points without fighting for them.
Century may have erased Jamestown's 4-0 start to the second and gone on to establish a 14-8 lead, but the Jays' scrappy defense, power plays at the net and Century errors fueled their own 8-1 run.
With attacks from senior Bernadette Newman and a rockin' defense anchored by senior libero, Aspyn Peterson the Jays were able to build upon the lead and make it a 22-19 advantage.
Peterson put up an incredible 39 official digs — and that's not mentioning all of the balls she dove for that didn't result in points.
"She was all over the place back there," Hegerle said of Peterson. "She's one that just keeps getting better. She has also struggled with confidence in the past and this year she's really just stepped into her libero role and she's earned it.
"She plays volleyball all-year-round. She's one of those players who has decided to put all of her time and effort into it and it shows. She's awesome, I'm just really proud of her."
Clearly it was not a lack of trying on Peterson's part that gave Century the win in the second.
The Jays worked to stave off Century's advances late in the second, but Century capitalized on some Jamestown errors in order to secure set No. 2.
Set No. 3 was a kind of Cinderella story for the Blue Jays.
While Century did establish a 9-2 lead, the Jays came roaring back and soon were only down 18-17.
The teamwork showcased by the Jays helped the home team stick with the mentally taxing rallies and accumulate the points. Jamestown ended the third with a 5-0 run.
On the offensive side, Newman pitched in with nine kills through the four sets. Nold and Kinley Anderson combined for 5.5 blocks at the net.
With renewed energy and momentum, the Jays took a great shot at taking down Century in the fourth, establishing an 8-5 lead and forcing five tied scores.
The squad was on top 21-19 but a 6-2 run by the Patriots ended the showdown.
"These are the matches that we like," Hegerle said. "I think today was an enjoyable day, I am proud of our kids."
Century 3, Jamestown 1
BC 26 25 23 25
JHS 24 22 2523
BC — Kills: Nissley 21, Fridley 12, Bauman 11, Atrianna Backman 5, Erika Lee 5, Quinn Kost 1. Assists: Geneva Ding 29, Kost 22. Digs: Nissley 40, Haven Fitterer 26, Fridley 19, Kost 15, Ding 7, Bauman 4, Backman 4, Lee 3. Aces: Bauman 3, Fridley 1, Nissley 1, Kost 1, Ding 1. Blocks: Backman 4.5, Bauman 3.5, Kost 1.5, Lee 1.5, Nissley 0.5.
JHS — Kills: Hakanson 10, Nold 10, Newman 9. Assists: Nold 22, Hegerle 17. Digs: Peterson 39, Hegerle 14, Joseph 14. Aces: Nold 2, Hakanson 2, Joseph 2. Blocks: Hakanson 3.5, Nold 3.5, Anderson 2.
Records: Century 10-1 overall 4-0 WDA; Jamestown 11-2, 4-2