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PREP VOLLEYBALL: Jamestown sweeps Red River at state

Elli Strand of Grand Forks Red River tries to hit past a couple Jamestown defenders during the Roughriders' first round loss at the state volleyball tournament Thursday in Minot.

MINOT -- Being the underdog didn't make losing any easier for Taylor Adam and her teammates.

Jamestown handed Grand Forks Red River a 3-0 defeat here Thursday in the quarterfinals of the North Dakota Class A high school volleyball tournament. Jamestown won 25-16, 25-15, 25-19.

Jamestown was undefeated in the Western Dakota Association during the regular season and was runner-up in the West Region tournament. Red River was third in the Eastern Dakota Conference and the East Region tournament.

"There wasn't a lot of pressure on us," Adam, a Red River junior hitter, said. "We were underdogs. But the sting of losing always hurts. Obviously, any time you lose, you're not going to be super happy."

Defeat was perhaps more difficult to accept knowing that the Roughriders had opportunities in each set.

"Jamestown is a very solid team," Red River coach Carolyn Olson said. "But, had we come out and played well, I think it would have been closer.

"We played tentatively. We have a young team and the kids played young. We didn't handle tournament pressure."

The Blue Jays closed the first set strong on an 8-1 run. Jamestown held a slim 14-13 lead in the second before rattling off nine unanswered points, six of those on Rider errors.

The deepest Red River led in the match was at 16-14 in the third set. But the Blue Jays went on an 11-3 finish, the last four points on Rider mistakes.

While Red River struggled earlier in the season with its own mistakes, "we've played better lately," Olson said. "I thought we had opportunities today."

Two kills and a block by Adeline Eamon sparked the Jamestown comeback in the third set. Eamon finished with match highs of 10 kills and five blocks.

"It's tough when you feel like the match is over and you're playing pretty well," Jamestown coach Sara Hegerle said of the third-set rally. "We took a timeout and then I really thought we took it to them. This team is capable of being down and coming back, so that's really fun to see."

Red River has only one senior (Jennifer Trader) and no players who previously had seen extensive playing time at a state tournament. "We were tense," Adam said. "When we made mistakes, they seemed to snowball and result in long runs (for Jamestown)."

Jamestown improved to 32-4 with the win while dropping the Roughriders to 18-14.