“She’s not even here yet, she’s still learning,” Jamestown High School head coach Sara Hegerle said of the senior’s potential. “She can apply the smallest things and make adjustments. She’s a great athlete and a great kid.”
Nabwe helped lead the Jays to the WDA’s second straight sweep of the season, ahead of Dickinson 25-14, 25-22, 25-13. Jamestown is now 2-0 on the year in regular season competition. The Midgets are evenly split 1-1.
The Jays’ next test will be Thursday at Bismarck Legacy. The match is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.
For just a few minutes after the second set, Hegerle was unsure whether the Blue Jays would have Nabwe at their disposal for the remainder of the season.
Jamestown’s Hunter Petersen (2) follows a hit against Dickinson’s Taya Hopfauf on Thursday in high school volleyball action at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun of Jamestown
The Jays were leading 24-22, a ball from senior Katie Trumbauer found the 5-foot-9 right side and Nabwe crushed it from the strip, sending the ball spinning to the ground. After the whistle signaled the end of the second set, Nabwe collapsed to the ground clutching her leg and had to be helped by Hegerle and a coach to leave the pitch.
Nabwe did not return to the ground but returned to the bench – walking on her own – for the third and final set. No details regarding the injury have been released at this time. Nabwe ended his night with three kills and three saves at the net.
“I thought it was his knee so I was very scared,” Hegerle said of Nabwe’s fall. “Looks like it was her ankle. She’s already walking on it so I think she’ll be fine for next week.”
Second-year passer Makenna Nold replaced Nabwe, a theme that has become common among this year’s squad.
Like any team on the night of their home opener, the Jays showed nerves from the start. Hegerle’s side are relatively inexperienced, especially in defense, as the Jays lack three-year-old starting Libero Rachel Schiele this season. The Midgets took advantage of shaky passes and hammered a few balls in front of the defense, making it a 5-4 game from the start.
Schiele, now a freshman on the University of Jamestown volleyball team, would have been proud of the reaction of her former teammate Jenna Fischer.
Aspyn Peterson (5) of Jamestown applauds after a point scored on Dickinson Thursday at the Jerry Meyer Arena. Blue Jays coach Sara Hegerle also cheers in the background. John M. Steiner / The Sun of Jamestown
Fischer, a three-year-old varsity squad, pulled out 12 balls in defense, helping the Jays to a 6-0 run halfway through the first to bring the score to 14-7 in favor of the team local. Fischer’s assists to passers Katie Trumbauer and Makenna Nold helped fuel a dynamic attack from the Blue Jays that repelled the first 25-14.
“When I told her she had a chance in the Libero position, her jaw dropped,” Hegerle said of Fischer. “This kid can hit, block, serve hard and play good defense. I think she has taken over her leadership today as well.
“She was a little uncomfortable in that position, and anyone would, especially when you follow Rachel Schiele. They are big shoes but she did a good job.”
While the Fischer and Jays defense found the right rhythm in the first and third sets, Game 2 was a little more wrong.
Missed serves and communication issues helped Dickinson stay in the second. Trumbauer said the Jays work hard to serve hard in training, explaining that when you try to serve hard sometimes the ball will slip off the pitch lines. The missed bullets caused mental errors and senior Midget Taya Hopfauf took the opportunity to fire a cross shot that tied him at 13 apiece, forcing Hegerle to take a time out.
“When you miss a few serves, you focus on not missing out,” Hegerle said. “We’re going to go through times like this. These kids are students of the game, they’re ready to learn and they’re ready to apply what they’re learning – you can’t ask for more than that.”
Jamestown’s Katie Trumbauer prepares the ball for a Blue Jays teammate to send through the volleyball net to Dickinson on Thursday at Jerry Meyer Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun of Jamestown
Everything Hegerle told his team must have worked as the Jays came away with a 4-0 run which caused another break in the action. A few other Blue Jays mental mistakes helped the Midgets recover and tie the game four times, but the home side kept enough pressure throughout the third to get the ball rolling.
“I think we kind of thought it was hopefully a guaranteed win,” Trumbauer said. “That second set scared us a bit, but I think we kind of got that in the third set. This team is capable of a lot. It was so fun tonight, the energy was great. ”
Jamestown 3, Dickinson 0
DHS 14 22 13
JHS 25 25 25
DHS – Kills: Hopfauf 6, Caton Pearcy 9. Assists: Staci Kempenich 17. Excavations: Kempenich 11, Reese Hauck 10, Hopfauf 10, Makenna Eckelberg 8, Pearcy 6, Sadie Stevenson 1. Ace: Eckelberg 1. Blocks: Jenna Decker 1, Stevenson 1.
JHS – Killed: Hunter Petersen 8, Bernadette Newman 8, Katie Falk 7, Haylie Hakanson 6, Trumbauer 4, Nabwe 3, Nold 3. Helpers: Trumbauer 19, Nold 6. Excavations: Fischer 12, Aspyn Peterson 6, Newman 4, Jada Walter 3, Rylee Joseph 3, Kaia Dillman 2, Trumbauer 1, Falk 1, Nold 1. As: Nold 4, Joseph 3, Peterson 2, Fischer 1. Blocks: Nabwe 3, Hakanson 3, Trumbauer 2, Falk 2.
Records: Dickinson 1-1; Jamestown 2-0.