It was a show at the net in Jerry Meyer Arena on Tuesday night.
The Jamestown Blue Jays' front row led a face-paced offense and short game defense against the 10-2 Mandan Braves. Junior outside hitter Grace Hegerle led the Jays at the net with 15 kills and junior middle Ella Roaldson added 12 kills and 4.5 blocks on the night. Jessa Anderson drilled the line for the Jays while senior Jessica Walter monitored the right side. It was a pattern the Jays' squad kept all night.
"We just wanted to go in with a lot of confidence," head coach Sara Hegerle said.
The Jays fell to the Braves in set one due to a short game led by junior setter Sydney Gustavsson. Gustavsson led Mandan in assists. Senior middle Lakyn Darras brought the height to the net for MHS. At 5-foot-11 Darras controlled the ball up front sending it down within the 10-foot line. The Braves' short offense kept the Jays on their toes and took set one 25-22.
"We're not going to lose to a team that's going to tip on us," Hegerle said in regard to frustrations on the court after set one. "I think we picked up a couple of tips and they stopped tipping,"
The Blue Jays were out for a win beginning set two. Hegerle led it off with an ace from the service line. After getting beat off the Braves' tipping game setter Kameron Selvig helped libero, Rachel Schiele, anchor a short Blue Jays defense. Schiele recorded 28 digs on the night and defensive specialists Addi Douty and Jessie Paulson recorded 25 digs on the night. A fast-paced offense and strong defense for the Jays claimed the second set 25-21.
"We couldn't figure out where to hit the ball, because they defend every spot but .. eventually if you take enough swings the ball's going to find the ground."
It was another battle beginning the third set and the Jays were one point away from claiming their third set victory at 24-21 but the Braves weren't going out quietly. Two long rallies started off by Mandan's libero, Piper Harris, led to two long rallies that made it 24-23 Jays. The Blue Jays offense and defense kept the ball alive and a final kill from the Blue Jays front row sealed the deal and gave Jamestown the third set win: 25-23.
Big blocks and big hits on both sides of the net were the stories in set four. Darras and Gustavsson put up a powerful front at the net for Mandan that proved a challenge to Schiele and Douty on the Jays defense. Roaldson and Hegerle brought the blocks and kills to the net for the Blue Jays but a scrappy Mandan defense anchored by Harris, Darras and Olivia Leingang made the Jays fight. The Blue Jays would fight back to a from a 6-point deficit to make it 22-22 but powerful hits from Mandan made it 2-2 with a fourth set victory 25-22.
It all started early in the fifth for the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays would go on an unanswered four-point scoring run led by Grace Hergele at the service line and big blocks from Ella Roaldson. Schiele and Douty helped to anchor the back row and Jenna Fischer came out to put the ball on the ground. The Jays took the fifth 15-7.
"Mandan has been known to be down before and they don't give up, they just come back and win matches," Hegerle said. "They're never going to go away, so I am not surprised that we went to five ... they are well-coached but tonight was our night."
Jamestown 3, Mandan 2
MHS 25 21 23 25 7
JHS 22 25 25 22 15
Jamestown: Kills: Grace Hegerle 15, Jessa Anderson 13, Ella Roaldson 12, Kameron Selvig 4, Jenna Fischer 3, Jessie Paulson 2, Katie Falk, Jessica Walters. Assists: Selvig 42. Digs: Hegerle 30, Rachel Schiele 28, Paulson 14, Addi Douty 11. Aces: Selvig 3, Hegerle 3, Alex Nihill 3. Blocks: Roaldson 4.5, Selvig 3, Fischer 1.5, Walters 1.5, Anderson 1.
Records: Mandan 10-3, 5-1 West Region. Jamestown 7-4, 3-1.