FARGO -- The Blue Jays have had to think about the coronavirus pandemic a lot this season but the team's mind was on one thing Thursday night at the Fargodome.

Volleyball.

The Blue Jays marched onto the court at the Class A state tournament arrayed in their white jerseys and tie-dyed socks to take on West Fargo Sheyenne in the opening round.

Jamestown pulled out a five-set win over the Mustangs to advance to Friday's semifinals. The Jays will face top-seeded West Fargo at 7 p.m. while West Fargo Sheyenne will play Bismarck Legacy at 1 p.m. in consolation play.

"What a relief," said JHS head coach Sara Hegerle. "We don't win that first one very often so that's a big deal. That's a big deal for Jamestown, a big deal for our team -- that's a tough one to get."

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They got it in dramatic fashion.

The Jays led the Mustangs early, establishing a convincing 9-2 lead fueled by a Blue Jay front row that came to play. The Blue Jays were hitting .198 at the net with four team members putting up at least four attacks at the net.

"You never know how your team is going to respond to adversity and nerves and I thought we did well tonight," Hergerle said. "Katie Trumbauer set a nice ball and all of our hitters did a nice job."

Jamestown's Ella Roaldson hits against West Fargo Sheyenne during their N.D. Class A state quarterfinal volleyball match, Thursday, Nov. 19, in the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Jamestown's Ella Roaldson hits against West Fargo Sheyenne during their N.D. Class A state quarterfinal volleyball match, Thursday, Nov. 19, in the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

There was one combo that worked especially well for the Blue Jays in the form of Ella Roaldson and Grace Hegerle.

"It's a good combination for those two," Hegerle said of the two senior Blue Jay hitters.

Ella Roaldson put up 19 kills en route to the state semifinals -- seven of which came just in the first set race to 25. The 5-foot-8 middle hitter used her hops to make a trio of rejections at the net. Roaldson has been a part of the past four Blue Jay state tournament teams.

"Ella was a play stopper," Hegerle said. "She just took the game and just went, pounding balls and blocking balls with a lot of energy. (She gave) us really good leadership and has really done everything we've asked of her."

Roaldson made it 10-6 Blue Jays off a kill that blew right past Alexis Burke and Kennedy Colter. After an ace by Trumbauer stretched the lead to five, Roaldson ended a rally with her last kill of the night to bring the Jays' within three of ending the match.

That's when the Jays turned to the other part of the duo.

"I know Grace had a lot of kills but her defense was just awesome - inspiring," Hegerle said. "You see Ella come in and Grace is in the back row you think, 'What's going to happen now?' But it's the one-two punch."

Roaldson and Hegerle have been playing volleyball since elementary school.

"We've got a bond," Roaldson said of herself and Hegerle. "We've been playing together for so long --we've been through it all --even setting our eighth-grade year."

Neither Blue Jay recorded an assist in Thursday's match but the bond remained strong at the net and in the back half of the court.

Hegerle passed up 15 balls to Trumbauer from the No. 5 spot and switched up her offensive play hitting at all three positions in the front row, racking up 16 kills in the process. The fourth-year varsity Blue Jay scored back-to-back points to put the Jays within one.

The Mustangs made an offensive bobble, hitting the ball into the tape that would cost the Mustangs' their state championship dreams and punch the Blue Jays' ticket to the semis.

West Fargo Sheyenne head coach Leah Newton said the Mustangs were not quite as prepared for the Blue Jays' game as other years due to the pandemic.

"It is a little bit challenging," Newton said. "Normally we have a chance to see each other early in the season in the East-West crossover and some of our local Fargo invites.

"The only access that we had to see what they did was watching them online. We had some idea of what they were going to do. Getting a chance to watch each other in person is definitely better."

Jamestown's Katelyn Trumbauer hits against West Fargo Sheyenne during their N.D. Class A state quarterfinal volleyball match, Thursday, Nov. 19, in the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
Jamestown's Katelyn Trumbauer hits against West Fargo Sheyenne during their N.D. Class A state quarterfinal volleyball match, Thursday, Nov. 19, in the Fargodome. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Even while the Mustangs were unable to continue their streak at the state tourney, the team was still able to deliver quite the match. Newton's squad hit 93 digs compared to the Blue Jays' 58. The Mustangs also had higher numbers in the assist, blocking and kill columns.

Jordan Feist commanded things on the outside shooting 18 balls down the line and cross-court. The 5-foot-11 outside slid one past the Jays' block to come within four points in the fifth.

"It was fun," Newton said. "At this point, with just how crazy this year is, we're really happy to be here. We're happy we get to play."

Hegerle said the lopsided 25-16, 14-25, 25-14, 19-25, 15-8 set scores showed the momentum shifts and caliber of both the teams who were on the court.

"At this point in the season a team can go one way or another and we went the right way today," Hegerle said. "We're in the semis. It's only the third time we've been there and I'm not quite sure how to handle it (but) we are going to get after it tomorrow."

Jamestown 3, West Fargo-Sheyenne 2

WFS 16 25 14 25 8

JHS 25 14 25 19 15

WFS -- Kills: Feist 18, Lexus Terhark 11, Kailee Waasdorp 9, Megan Olson 6, Khloe Brown 5, Cally Tungseth 4, Burke 1. Assists: Waasdorp 23, Colter 23, Burke 7. Digs: Feist 22, Burke 19, Colter 19, Waasdorp 16, Makenzie Urbanec 7, Brown 4, Terhak 3, Tungseth 2, Olson 1. Aces: Feist 2, Colter 1, Olson 1, Waasdorp 1. Blocks: Tungseth 4, Feist 3, Waasdorp 2, Olson 2, Terhark 1, Brown 1.

JHS -- Kills: Roaldson 19, Hegerle 16, Haylie Hakanson 6, Hunter Petersen 4, Katie Falk 4, Kaylee Panchot 1. Assists: Trumbauer 31, Hakanson 1, Panchot 1. Digs: Rachel Schiele 22, Hegerle 15, Jenna Fischer 11, Panchot 3, Petersen 2, Trumbauer 2, Roaldson 2, Addi Douty 1. Aces: Trumbauer 4, Hegerle 3, Panchot 2, Fischer 1, Schiele 1. Blocks: Roaldson 3, Trumbauer 2, Falk 1, Hakanson 1, Petersen 1.

HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL

CLASS A STATE TOURNAMENT

AT FARGODOME

NOV. 19

G1: Bismarck Century 3, Valley City 0 (25-15, 25-9, 25-18)

G2: Fargo Davies 3, Mandan 2 (25-21, 23-25, 25-11, 20-25, 16-14)

G3: West Fargo 3, Bismarck Legacy 1 (21-25, 25-15, 25-20, 26-24)

G4: Jamestown 3, W.F. Sheyenne 2 (25-16, 14-25, 25-14, 19-25, 15-8)

NOV. 20

G5: Valley City vs. Mandan, 10 a.m.

G6: Legacy vs. West Fargo Sheyenne, 1 p.m.

G7: Century vs. Fargo Davies, 4 p.m.

G8: West Fargo vs. Jamestown, 7 p.m.

NOV. 21

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

Fifth place: Winner G5 vs. Winner G6, 10 a.m.

Third place: Loser G7 vs. Loser G8, 4 p.m.

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

CLASS B STATE TOURNAMENT

AT FARGODOME

NOV. 19

G1: Thompson 3, Flasher 0 (25-12, 25-20, 25-20)

G2: Langdon/EM 3, Kenmare 0 (25-19, 25-17, 25-22)

G3: Linton/HMB 3, Our Redeemer's 0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-12)

G4: Northern Cass 3, Dickinson Trinity 0 (25-12, 25-23, 25-15)

NOV. 20

G5: Flasher vs. Kenmare, 10 a.m.

G6: Our Redeemers vs. Dickinson Trinity, 1 p.m.

G7: Thompson vs. Langdon/EM, 4 p.m.

G8: Linton/HMB vs. Northern Cass, 7 p.m.

NOV. 21

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

Fifth place: Winner G5 vs. Winner G6, 10 a.m.

Third place: Loser G7 vs. Loser G8, 4 p.m.

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