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Blue Jays sweep DHS: Keller provides spark as Jamestown rolls Midgets during a West Region match

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Dickinson High junior middle hitter Marissa Schroeder, right, and senior setter Madison Schobinger, left, go up for a block against Jamestown's Addie Eamon during a West Region match on Wednesday at the DHS gymnasium.

Since Sara Hegerle started as the head volleyball coach for Jamestown three years ago, her team has struggled at the DHS gymnasium.

Before taking the court against Dickinson, she wanted her team to get off to a quick start.

Unfortunately, it didn't happen. Dickinson High jumped out to a quick 7-2 lead.

"We never play well here," Hegerle said. "There is something about this gym that we never played well. We talked about that before we came in here and we said, 'Let's make a change and start off strong right away.' They didn't do that, but credit goes to Dickinson and they were really battling."

However, once McKayla Keller stepped back to serve with Jamestown trailing 14-10, the offensive spark was lit. The Blue Jays went on a 10-0 run, won the opening set 25-21 and finished the Midgets off with a sweep 25-13, 25-18 during a West Region match on Wednesday.

"Serving tough really gets our team going," Hegerle said. "She was that spark that we needed to get going. We work on serving a lot and she was a good spark for us tonight."

The Midgets have played back-to-back opponents, which sit at the top of the West Region standings. Dickinson was swept by Bismarck Century on Tuesday, but managed to fight the Patriots every step of the way losing a pair of sets 25-23.

"It's two nights in a row now, where we've taken on arguably two of the best teams in the state," Dickinson head coach Jay Schobinger said. "We've shown that we can hang with them. We just have to find a way to get over the next hurdle.

"The team is gaining confidence and we are definitely playing better. We just have to find a way to maintain."

Keller finished with 11 digs, five aces and five kills. Juliana Niemeier, who is in the back row with Keller, said it was great to see her give the team a much needed spark.

"I remember when she used to not be able to get the serve over the net and now she's really good," said Niemeier, who finished with 11 digs and one ace. "I'm so proud of her. I think it was McKayla's serves that made everything click. That really helped get us on a roll."

After the opening set, the Blue Jays didn't have any trouble finding ways to put the ball on the floor. Jamestown's offensive attack was fueled by 6-foot senior Addie Eamon and Jenna Stilwell with 12 and seven kills, respectively.

The Blue Jays handled the next two sets winning on a Dickinson error in the second and Keller knocking down the game-winning kill in the third.

Jamestown's setter Josie Hegerle found different hitters during all three sets. She finished with 26 assists, 11 digs and three kills.

"I thought tonight was one of her best matches," Sara Hegerle said. "She has a lot of roles to fill. Our hitters are lucky because we have her and she's lucky because she gets such good passes. We have a really good back row. They don't enough credit and they deserve it."

Dickinson's junior middle hitter Marissa Schroeder said it is tough to continually be close, but not get over the hump of taking sets from top teams in the conference.

"I definitely feel that we have the capability of winning those matches," Schroeder said. "We need to get those close matches and we need to learn how to finish them."

The Midgets had Schroeder, Sierra Rohr and Avery Privratsky each finish with four kills. Schroeder and Rohr also supplied two blocks, while Madison Schobinger posted 15 assists, 11 digs and one ace. Mackee Hoffmann had a team-high 18 digs.

Dickinson has five region matches left before traveling to the West Region Tournament beginning Nov. 14. The Midgets travel to Williston at 6:15 p.m. on Oct. 24.

"We have five matches left and I think they are five where if we play well, we can win," Schobinger said. "We'll see what happens."

Jamestown 25 25 25 -- 3

Dickinson 21 13 18 -- 0

Kills: J, Addie Eamon 12, Jenna Stilwell 7, Beka Hilgeman 5. D, Sierra Rohr 4, Marissa Schroeder 4, Avery Privratsky 4.

Blocks: J, Eamon 4, Josie Hegerle 1. D, Schroeder 2, Rohr 2.

Aces: J, McKayla Keller 5, McKayla Orr 3. D, Mariah Jorda 2, Madison Schobinger 1.

Digs: J, Orr 26, Meghan Orr 11, Hegerle 11, Julina Neimeier 11, Keller 10. D, Mackee Hoffmann 18, Keely Hutchens 14, Schobinger 11.

Assists: J, Hegerle 26. D, Schobinger 15.