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Chris Aarhus / Forum News Service, Published October 30 2013

Jamestown captures first WDA volleyball title on Tuesday

BISMARCK – Not even a slow start could shake the confidence of the North Dakota West Region’s No. 1 team on Tuesday night.

Jamestown secured its first-ever Western Dakota Association volleyball regular-season championship in dominant fashion, cruising to a 25-17, 25-21, 25-23 victory over defending state champion Bismarck Century.

So dialed in were the Blue Jays that there was virtually no celebration after they won the first two sets, which may have come from the fact that earlier this season, they won the first two sets at home before the Patriots rallied to force a fifth set.

Tuesday, there were no emotional peaks or valleys for the Blue Jays (28-3, 14-0 WDA), who will be the top seed when they host the West Region tournament Nov. 14-16 at Jamestown High School.

“I think we made a statement (Tuesday night),” said senior libero McKayla Orr, who finished with 17 digs.

Jamestown’s back row limited Century’s front row attack. McKayla Keller had 12 digs and Julina Niemeier and Meghan Orr each added 11.

“Phenomenal,” senior setter Josie Hegerle said. “Defense wins us games, for sure.”

Everything went so right for Jamestown that head coach Sara Hegerle struggled to point to one area that stood out, calling it one of the team’s best outings of the season.

“It’s like a blur,” she said. “All of our players, everyone played really well. The kids had one of their best matches of the year.”

Jamestown trailed 9-2 early in the opening set, but the Blue Jays climbed out of that early hole, with help from senior Addie Eamon, who had four kills and a block.

An ace from Julina Niemeier tied the set at 13, and the Blue Jays took control from there. Jamestown’s final three points came on Century errors or violations.

Four more kills and two blocks from Eamon made a huge difference in the second set, and Jamestown got out to a 17-8 lead.

Still, there was no bigger help to Jamestown than Century’s errors, the last of which came from the service line to put Jamestown up 2-0 in the match. Eamon finished with 13 kills and three blocks.

Century (27-5, 13-2) made sure Jamestown earned its sweep, battling the Blue Jays hard in Set 3. The Patriots led 18-17 after a Jamestown hitting error, but three consecutive errors gave the Blue Jays a two-point lead. Century got within one at 24-23 on a Jamestown error, but Josie Hegerle’s tip kill ended the match.

“I think we’re gonna enjoy this one,” said Sara Hegerle, whose team closes out the regular season at Minot on Saturday and at Mandan on Tuesday. “This was one of our goals and to do it in this gym. I know I’ve never won in this gym. It was like a tournament atmosphere.”

Aarhus writes for the Jamestown Sun