The Jamestown High School girls volleyball team is one step closer to reaching their goal.
The Blue Jays defeated Mandan in dramatic fashion Thursday night in the semifinal round of the West Region Tournament. The Braves previously topped the Jays 3-1 and 3-0 to clinch the WDA’s No. 2 seed. With the win, the third-seeded Jays have clinched a state tournament berth for the fifth consecutive year.
The Class A state tournament is scheduled to be held Nov. 19-21 at the Fargodome.
“Six months ago we didn't know that we would be this far along in our season," JHS head coach Sara Hegerle said. "Nothing is guaranteed anymore with the world we live in, but we are looking pretty optimistically at the state tournament in a week. We're excited."
Jamestown is slated to face top-ranked Bismarck Century in the WDA championship match Saturday at 5 p.m. at Bismarck Legacy High School. The two teams faced each other in the 2019 title game -- a game the Pats took in four. The Blue Jays fell to the Patriots twice during the regular season, once at Jerry Meyer Arena and the other at the Pats’ home venue.
“We're super excited to be in the championship in the first place," JHS setter Katie Trumbauer said. "We want to beat them so bad and we know we can. We have the skills to do it, we just have to put it into the game."
Hegerle said the Jays controlled the tempo of Thursday's match and expects her team to do more of the same on Saturday. In the team's previous losses to Century and Mandan, the Blue Jays allowed the scoring runs to snowball, something Hegerle said the team will have to work hard to avoid.
"There will be times that we will get down and we just have to stay the course," Hegerle said. "The last time we played them we just let them roll over us, but this is a different team. We are renewed, we've worked through some stuff as a team and we just decided we have to make better of 2020."
Putting Rachel Schiele in the back row makes things better for the Jays.
Schiele recently returned to the court after undergoing an appendectomy. The senior has been medically cleared to finish out the rest of the season.
The Blue Jays could use another solid performance like the one they got out of Schiele and the Blue Jay defense in Mandan.
"We came out with a lot of energy and we were super excited to go into the game and we just wanted to beat them so bad," Trumbauer said. "The last two games we played they beat us and they were not our best games. We were kind of frustrated with ourselves and we kind of transferred that into this game."
Trumbauer had an impressive night in her own right with 16 assists, 11 digs, two kills and four aces.
"We passed nearly perfect, we served 97% and we had nine aces," Hegerle said. "That is the key right there, our nine aces to their one, that is a very important statistic."
Ella Roaldson, the Jays leading attacker on Thursday, took advantage of all the balls Schiele was diving for behind the 10-foot line. Roaldson smashed 13 balls past Piper Harris and the Braves’ defense.
“Everybody did their job," Hegerle said. "Our defense was so good, everyone just defended so well our blocking was good and we served tough. That is the best we have served in a lot of years since I have been here."
Jamestown was certainly serving up the runs, outscoring Mandan by at least eight points all three games. Grace Hegerle helped fuel the offense with eight kills, while the Jays' Hunter Petersen pushed five to the deep corners. Haylie Hakanson ended the first with a smartly placed tip to the middle.
The second set did not start off auspiciously for the home team. The Braves tried to chip away at the Jays' mid-set 15-10 lead, but for every point Mandan got the Jays reciprocated. Mandan head coach Anna Folk called a time out after her team committed an error to make it 18-13 Jamestown. A few well-placed hits, aces from Kaylee Panchot and Mandan missteps iced it and made it 2-0 Blue Jays.
Things were pretty evenly matched early in the third with only a couple of points separating the two teams. The Jays started to pull away and made it 10-6 forcing another timeout to be called by Mandan.
The minute on the sidelines didn't seem to help the Braves.
The Jays wound up going on a 9-1 run to make it 19-7. Mandan was able to come up with seven more points, but it was not enough to catch the Jays who rolled 25-14.
With the loss, Mandan will have to attempt to get to the state tourney through the losers’ bracket. The Braves will match up against Bismarck High on Saturday at 11 a.m.
"I am glad we aren't done," Hegerle said. "I am glad we get to keep going."
Jamestown 3, Mandan 0
JHS 25 25 25
MAN 16 17 14
JHS -- Kills: Roaldson 13, Hegerle 8, Hunter Petersen 5, Haylie Hakanson 4, Katie Falk 3, Trumbauer 2. Assists: Trumbauer 16. Digs: Hegerle 16, Schiele 13, Trumbauer 11, Jenna Fischer 8, Addi Douty 2, Panchot 4, Roaldson 2, Falk 1, Petersen 1. Aces: Trumbauer 4, Panchot 2, Hegerle 2, Schiele 1. Blocks: Hakanson 1, Trumbauer, Roaldson 1.