Slow starts prompt Jamestown sweep of Minot High

Alex Eisen/MDN Majettes senior Kali Askvig (11) gets the ball around the Jamestown block of Courtney Peterson (14) and McKayla Kurtz (6) in a West Region volleyball match played Saturday at Minot High School.

Nerves, fear and mistakes rattled the Minot High volleyball team Saturday afternoon against West Region leading Jamestown.

In a match where the Majettes (11-11, 3-6 WDA) never led in any set, the Blue Jays (19-1, 8-0 WDA) cruised to a 3-0 sweep by set scores of 25-15, 25-11, 25-21.

“I think we were kind of intimated coming in knowing that they are a good team,” Minot junior Sydney Beck said. “We should have come in more ready to go than thinking, ‘Oh, they are such a good team.'”

Jamestown has now won eight straight matches with its lone loss coming against a Minnesota school.

“They are a polished team and they are definitely No. 1 for a reason,” MHS coach Sherry Carlson said. “I don’t think we were ready. We were incredibly flat in the first game and second game. It took us until the third game to just start moving. You just can’t afford that.”

A 4-0 Jamestown run to open the first set foreshadowed what was to come. The Majettes managed to get within a point at 7-6, but the Blue Jays kept going on mini spurts to pull away.

A pair of kills by junior Courtney Peterson at 13-8 and 19-10 capped a few of those runs, as Jamestown went on to take the opening set 25-15. Peterson finished with a match-high 16 kills.

Senior Kali Askvig led the Majettes with seven kills.

“We can’t start so slow. We have to be out ready to play no matter what,” Askvig said. “It really brought our confidence down and we can’t let that happen. We have to stay positive and keep pushing through.”

The second set nearly started the same way as the first, with the Blue Jays taking the first three points.

It only got worse for Minot from there. A Jamestown block on senior outside hitter Elise Klein forced Carlson into a timeout with the Majettes trailing 8-1.

“Huge jump outs and when they do that, I can honestly say for my team, it’s not a good start,” Carlson said. “That seems to set the tone. In games that we play well, it’s not like we get the jump start. But, we don’t let them do that to us and we are able to stay with them point for point.”

Kills from senior McKayla Kurtz and challenging serves by Jamestown made quick work of the Majettes. A tip-kill by Abby Kallenbach finished the frame off, 25-11, to the Blue Jays. Kurtz finished 11 kills.

“The minute we start making a couple of mistakes, they don’t want that and then it just seems like they lose heart right away,” Carlson said about her team. “They get defeated way too soon. There is a lot to the game left and we just got to get over mistakes, recover and get back into the game.”

Jamestown scored the first four points in the third and final set. After a pair of defensive miscues, Carlson called another timeout with the Majettes down 6-2. That finally helped the Majettes come to life (briefly).

A kill by Askvig had Minot tied with Jamestown at 8-8. The Blue Jays, with impenetrable defense, answered quickly with a 6-1 run.

“It didn’t matter what we hit at them, they dug it up,” Carlson said.

Beck put down a kill to get the Majettes back within four points at 20-16. She finished with five kills and a team-high two blocks.

“Communication is key for us,” Beck said. “I feel like we stop talking more when we get defeated with ourselves and then the better we play together the more we talk. So, if we just keep our communication throughout the entire thing, we will do a lot better as a team.”

The Majettes battled off match point four times with Beck serving, but eventually Kurtz knocked down a kill to give the Blue Jays the third set 25-21.

Senior setter Brooke Nelson had 19 assists for the Majettes, while senior Megan Gaffaney tossed up 30 assists for Jamestown. Also, for the Blue Jays, senior Hannah Schiele collected a match-high 27 digs.

Next up, Minot is on the road Thursday against Williston at 7:15 p.m.

Alex Eisen covers Minot High School, Minot State athletics and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.