Jamestown sewed up the No. 2 seed in the West Region Tuesday night in Mandan, but the Braves went down swinging in their final home match of the season.
The Blue Jays notched their 20th win with a 25-13, 24-26, 25-19, 25-21 win to spoil Mandan's senior night.
"We started out shaky tonight and Jamestown took advantage of that like good teams do, but I was really happy with how the girls fought after that," Mandan coach Anna Folk said. "If we were going to lose, we wanted to lose fighting and the girls did that tonight."
Mandan will take the No. 4 seed and a sparkling 18-7 record into the West Region tournament next week in Jamestown.
"Against those top five or six teams in the region there are no walkthroughs for sure. It gives more meaning to a win and to a good loss, like tonight," Folk said. "I thought we had a couple of times where defensively we made some mistakes, but we were able to make some adjustments and get back into it. A lot of girls made really positive contributions tonight and that's what we really like to see."
Jamestown, with its 16-2 West Region record, hosts the region tournament, beginning Nov. 14.
Pinning down the No. 2 seed was important, said the team's senior setter.
"We really wanted to get the No. 2 seed because that meant we would have earned it by beating a really good team tonight," Jamestown's Kameron Selvig said. "Mandan's a really good team. I thought they played great. We're really happy to get out of here with the win."
The Blue Jays rode the power right arms of Ella Roaldson and Grace Hegerle, who combined for 34 kills in the match. Roaldson pounded down 20 balls, including three in pivotal stretch in the fourth set.
Tied 15-all, Roaldson drilled two kills and tipped another to give the Blue Jays a lead they never gave back.
"Mandan played great defense tonight," said Selvig, who had nine kills to go with her with 36 assists. "They got some balls back that I thought were down for sure. It was a great match to go into WDA on. We had to play at a high level to win and that's what we'll need to do next week."
Close early in the opening set, the Blue Jays ran off six straight points for a 15-7 lead. Four came on Mandan errors.
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When Hegerle dropped the hammer off a feed from Selvig the Blue Jays took a commanding eight-point edge. Jamestown closed out the opening frame at 25-13 on another Braves’ ball sent into the net.
The Braves battled back in the second set.
Down 15-12, two aces by Sydney Gustavsson and tip kill from Taylor Leingang led a 5-0 Mandan run for a 17-15 lead. The Braves pushed the edge to 22-18 on a Jamestown error.
The Blue Jays score six of the next eight points, tying it 24-24 on a Jessa Anderson kill.
After a timeout, the Braves regrouped. A blocking error by the Blue Jays set up game point before Leingang squeezed a hit through the Jamestown block to close out the set 26-24 and level the match at 1-1.
"To be able to get that second set was big for us. Jamestown doesn't make a lot of mistakes typically so we had to earn what we got tonight," Folk said. "If we can fight like this and be tenacious, that's when we're at our best."
Jamestown jumped out to an 11-7 lead in the third set, thanks to strong serving.
Alex Nihill fired in two aces and another by Rachel Schiele made it 11-7. Jamestown led by as many as eight (22-14) before the Braves cut the gap to 23-19 on a Piper Harris ace. But consecutive hitting misfires by the Braves gave the Blue Jays the set, 25-19.
Mandan stormed back to tie the final frame after the Blue Jays led 9-4 early.
Lakyn Darras connected on a pair of no-doubters to level the match at 15-15. But three in row by Roaldson, and then a nifty dump by Selvig made it 22-18. Hegerle hit through the block twice to end the match, 25-21.
Darras and Leingang each registered 15 kills with strong hitting performances for the Braves. Gustavsson stuffed the stat sheet with 40 assists, 11 digs and three aces.
It was the second long match between the two sides. The Blue Jays won 3-2 in Jamestown on Sept. 17.