Mandan needed just one point to secure the match but Ella Roaldson wasn't going to let that happen
At least not without a fight.
The Jamestown High School volleyball team fell in four 16-25, 25-19, 23-25, 22-25 Tuesday night at Jerry Meyer Arena. The loss drops Jamestown to 5-2 while Mandan improved to 4-1 in the Western Dakota Association standings.
Mandan had pulled away from the Jays to make it 24-18 in the fourth set but was frustrated by Roaldson's repeated pop-ups and kills from the No. 3 spot.
"We work a lot in our gym that no matter what the score is or how it is going to always play your hardest and never be scared to make a mistake because everybody makes mistakes," Roaldson said. "Even in those close games where it is 24-19 you kind of have to play like it is 0-0."
That mentality served Roaldson well as she finished with a pair of rejections at the net and three digs in attempts to slow down the Mandan offense. The Braves were powered by senior returner Taylor Leingang on the outside and junior middle hitter LaReena Mosbrucker. The duo combined for 23 swings at the net.
Roaldson said the combination of powerful net play and a scrappy defense anchored by junior libero Piper Harris was not totally expected by the Blue Jay players.
"I think we were definitely blind-sighted - obviously they have returning players so we kind of knew what they were about but not really," Roaldson said. "They kind of came out and showed us that they should be at the top of the West and how they should be taken seriously."
Leingang helped to lead the Braves on an 8-0 run to put the visitors up 12-4 in the first set and led the Jays by at least five the rest of the first.
"Every time we've played here it's been a dog fight," Mandan head coach Anna Folk said. "We've never gotten out of here with less than a really great match."
Momentum was still on Mandan's side of the court to begin the second set. The Braves pulled ahead early with a 5-0 run making it an 8-3 game. The Blue Jays countered with a 4-0 run to come within two of the Braves. Jenna Fischer tied it up for the Jays with an ace from the backline.
A tied ball game called Roaldson and company back into action.
The 5-foot-8 middle connected with sophomore setter Katie Trumbauer on 10 balls, adding in some chute and slide combinations to trip up Harris and the rest of the Mandan defense. The Braves' back three could do little against Roaldson's smart net play allowing a 4-0 run to end the second set.
"We are a very close team so it is easy to rely on each other to make a positive play and get out of that lull and get back up to our highest potential," Roaldson said.
Grace Hegerle did her share of picking up for the Jays.
Hegerle patrolled the outside hammering home 15 balls off assists from Trumbauer. Hegerle also led her team on the defensive end bending, running, twisting and diving in efforts to keep the ball in play. Hegerle ended her night with 22 digs.
Hegerle and Roaldson along with seniors Rachel Schiele, Addi Douty and Kaylee Panchot were honored at the beginning of the match for their commitment to Blue Jay volleyball.
"The seniors are awesome," JHS head coach Sara Hegerle said. "They do a lot for our program. Just the fact that those five made it through since starting in third grade, it means a lot."
The seniors and rest of the varsity squad will be back in action on Oct. 6 as they travel to the capital city to take on Bismarck St. Mary's.
"We're just going to swing away and try to play (our) best volleyball," Roaldson said.
(RV) Mandan 3, (2) Jamestown 1
M 25 19 25 25
J 16 25 23 22
Mandan -- Kills: T. Leingang 13, Mosbrucker 10, Morgan Sheldon 10, Sydney Gustavsson 5, Kate Kesler 4, Avianna Moen 1. Assists: Gustavvson 30. Digs: Piper Harris 34, Olivia Leingang 18, Sheldon 16, T. Leingang 16, Gustavvson 15, Elizabeth Felderman 8, Kesler 5, Emily Toman 4, Moen 2, 'Mosbrucker 2. Aces: T. Leingang 3, O. Leingang 2, Harris 2, Toman 1. Blocks: Mosbrucker 3, Sheldon 1, Moen 1, T. Leingang 1, Gustavvson 1.
Jamestown -- Kills: Hegerle 15, Roaldson 10, Falk 10, Haylie Hakanson 6, Hunter Petersen 4, Katie Trumbauer 2, Jenna Fischer 1. Assists: Trumbauer 34. Digs: Hegerle 22, Schiele 15, Trumbauer 14, Douty 9, Panchot 3, Roaldson 3, Falk 2, Petersen 2, Hakanson 1 Fischer 1. Aces: Fischer 2, Trumbauer 1, Douty 1, Hegerle 1. Blocks: Hakanson 3, Roaldson 2, Petersen 2, Trumbauer 1.
Records: Mandan 4-1, Jamestown 5-2.