Nov. 20 – BISMARCK – Only the Jamestown High School volleyball team would have their entire team and head coach Sara Hegerle rush mid-game for third place at the 2022 Class A state tournament and then 30 seconds to Cotton Eye Joe dance back to business later.
“Some coaches would not allow that,” said Coach Hegerle. “But honestly who cares if we win the next point? This is about the children and their experience. Will they remember winning, or will they remember dancing on the sidelines while their parents watched them in Bismarck? That just describes our year – easygoing and fun.”
Bernadette Newman threw back her head and laughed:
“That’s how the Blue Jays roll,” she said.
Jamestown finished its season as the No. 3 team in the state, beating Legacy 16-25, 25-27, 25-18, 15-25, 15-11 in the Class A state tournament. The result is the best the program has seen since the Blue Jays were named runners-up in 2017.
The Jays entered the Class A state tournament as No. 2 in the West Region. They survived Fargo South in the quarterfinals in a dismal five-set match that sent them to the state semifinals. The Blue Jays fell 3-0 to West Fargo Sheyenne and pinned them against Legacy for the fourth time this season.
“Actually, I wasn’t that excited last night,” said Hegerle about the defeat in the semifinals. “Maybe if the results were closer or if we played poorly but[Sheyenne]deserved that win. They were the better team. Sometimes you just lose to a better team. Their coach said it was the best they’ve played all year.”
While falling out in the semifinals, the Jays actually played in the state semifinals.
The Jays didn’t even have a shot at the state tournament last season, as their season ended in a 3-0 loss to St. Mary’s in the final round of the West Region Tournament.
“Last year it was very difficult for a lot of us not to come to State,” Newman said. “Many of us worked very hard in the off-season. We have trained. We trained, did volleyball camps – literally did everything we could. Obviously that helped us get to where we are today.”
All of that practice resulted in an incredible 17-3 conference and a 33-7 overall record. The Jays were 6-1 in five-set games and earned second place in the West Region.
“I don’t even know if we’re completely over last year just because it was so heartbreaking,” said Hegerle. “Last year wasn’t our year and I think the girls took their time beforehand this year and were really determined that they weren’t going to let that happen again. You couldn’t see it in this match. Haylie Hakanson was determined that no one would let her determine her destiny, she would determine it herself.
“Everyone did that, we did it together as a team. That is resilience and maturity. We decided to take a different path to end our journey.”
The Jamestown High School volleyball team has played with big hitting, rough net play and dynamic attacking all season, but Saturday was at stake for a trophy.
While Legacy’s firepower seemed dormant in sets #2 and 3, the Sabers turned on the jets in the fifth. Three consecutive attacking errors by the Jays gave the Sabers a 4-1 lead early in game five that soon turned into a 7-2 advantage for Legacy.
“I was definitely nervous because we were playing shaky and not playing to our full potential,” said Newman. “2-6, it was like ‘ahhhh’ but we did it. We took a deep breath and I told everyone not even to look at the result. We just wanted to play Blue Jay volleyball. People know we tend to come back and it was great.”
The Blue Jays continued to rip at the lead, rattling five times in a row to tie things at seven apiece.
“I really wanted to win,” said senior libero Aspyn Peterson. “My emotions were very high but I shed all my tears in the dressing room beforehand and I just knew my team would make it. I got a little nervous in the fifth set because we were down, but once we made it and I got back on the court I knew we were going to make it.”
Peterson ended her Blue Jay stint with an incredible 26 digs, 3 assists, an ace and a kill.
A Kaboom-type kill by Hakanson gave the Jays a one-point lead 9-8.
It was back and forth for the next few points. Legacy ended things at nine and then again at 10. At this point, the Jays rattled three times in a row to give them their biggest lead of the set.
Legacy came within two, but Jamestown forged a 14-11 lead in what would earn the final point of their season.
Edie Hegerle served the ball, Legacy returned it, Jamestown received it and Hegerle set up Nold, who knocked one off the block.
“When we were 7-2 behind, I didn’t think we were done,” said Hegerle. “All the times we played up and down prepared us. When Edie went in and got her serve at target it was huge because that’s a lot of pressure for a sophomore. It was a great feeling as a mother and as a coach.”
Hegerle was credited with two aces, 24 assists, and 24 digs. Makenna Nold gave out 26 assists and had 16 digs.
With no phase, Legacy fielded an attacker that drove one into the cross-court corner, which could easily have resulted in a 14-12 ball game.
That is, if Jamestown hadn’t done what it’s been doing all year – won in five.
Hegerle received the tackle, Nold put it out and Newman hit cross-court to seal the final kill of the match and their prep career.
“I thought let’s go!” said Newman with a fist pump. “It felt great to hit that ball and get the last kill of my career.”
Newman finished her career with a performance of 24 kills and 21 digs. She also counted three blocks. The senior led the entire West Region in kills this season. Newman is unsure about her college plans, but is looking for offers to play college volleyball.
“Playing for third place felt like it was the championship game, but our kids weren’t tight because they weren’t playing for a championship,” said Hegerle. “They just played. It was a perfect end to the season playing in a fivesome on the biggest stage in North Dakota.”
Jamestown 3, Legacy 2
JHS 16 27 25 15 25
LEG 25 25 18 25 11
JHS – Kills: Bernadette Newman 24, Makenna Nold 11, Haylie Hakanson 10, Benet Fronk 8, Kinley Anderson 4, Leah Trumbauer 2, Edie Hegerle 1, Aspyn Peterson 1. Assists: Nold 26, Hegerle 24, Peterson 3. Digs: Peterson 26, Hegerle 24, Newman 21, Nold 16, Fronk 9, Rylee Joseph 6, Breanna Oettle 3, Leah Trumbauer 1, Anderson 1. Blocks: Nold 4, Newman 3, Anderson 2, Hakanson 1, Trumbauer 1. Aces: Oettle 2 , Nold 2, Hegerle 2, Peterson 1.
LEG – Kills: Asiah Gross 14, Halle Severson 10, Chelsa Krom 9, Reese Duchsherer 8, Brooklyn Brendel 5, Madison Colby 4, Aleah McPerson 2, Brooklynn Flechle 1. Assists: Colby 25, Duchsherer 20, JoAnna Fleckenstein 2, Severson 1 Excavations: Fleckenstein 22, Duchsherer 16, Colby 13, Paisley Kleven 12, McPherson 9, Gross 8, Severson 2, Brendel 2, Anna Sorenson 2, Krom 1.