BISMARCK – Jamestown was holding a 10-point lead in the final set in what was going to be a sweep over Bismarck St. Mary’s in the quarterfinals of the West Region volleyball tournament.
The only uncertainty was the final margin of victory. And when it appeared St. Mary’s was about to secure another point, Jamestown juniors Edie Hegerle and Leah Trumbauer had other ideas. Hegerle rushed to rescue a ball veering out of bounds after a teammate attempted a block. She saved the ball from falling to the ground. A few moments later Trumbauer finished the point at the net with a kill.
That hustle and execution displayed by the pair has been commonplace this season.
“I think she (Edie) makes the biggest noise in her efforts on defense,’’ said Blue Jay coach Sara Hegerle. “She makes crazy plays look easy and can really frustrate a team. In the moment they think have a kill, Edie pops up the ball to save a point.”
Indeed, her daughter’s defense has been a strong part of the Blue Jays success. Edie’s 13 digs-per-match average leads the squad.
“She never gives up on a ball,’’ said Trumbauer. “Some of the saves she makes are amazing.”
Edie’s ability to track the ball and anticipate where the play is headed enables her to get into the best position to get to a ball.
“I just never want the ball to hit the ground,’’ Edie said. “I just want to keep every point alive. Defense has been a part of the game I’ve enjoyed.”
Her teammates certainly feed off her defensive zeal and that translates to an energized group willing to step up and make plays of their own.
Edie is also a contributor in the ‘Jays offensive sets. Her 32 assists-per-match rank among the best in the conference. “She works to get to every ball to set her hitters – and this so fun to watch,’’ says coach Hegerle.
Trumbauer is also a difference maker in so many ways.
“She always has a smile on her face and she just uplifts everyone,’’ Edie said. “I know when I’m down she is there to keep encouraging me to stay focused.”
Like Edie, Trumbauer’s contributions can been seen all over the stat sheet. She is among the team leaders in kills (8 per match), digs (8) and service aces (2).
“Her strength is truly in her all-around play,’’ said coach Hegerle. “She is one of our best passers, servers and hitters.”
Edie and Leah have been playing alongside each other since middle school and that has built chemistry on the court. “We just know where each other is going to be,’’ Edie said.
The Blue Jay program has established itself as one of the best in the state through hard work, skill development and players willing to step in and fill the necessary roles to be successful.
Hegerle and Trumbauer along with seniors Makenna Nold and Kinley Anderson were the four returning starters, but positional changes and new faces into the rotation essentially created a new look to the lineup, according to coach Hegerle.
The experience and leadership exhibited by the returning starters helped the new faces adjust to the pace and intensity of varsity play.
Communication on the court is also critical. “You have to talk out there (on the court),’’ Edie said. “Things happen fast and you have to know who is going to take that second ball and make sure we are in good position to defend.”
Trumbauer said the attention to details in practice also contribute to the program’s preparation. “Every day we work on serve receive and making sure our passing is on,’’ Leah said.
Indeed, being fundamentally sound takes plenty of repetitions in practice, but it pays off. And pays off big come the postseason when so much is at stake.
Jamestown heads into this week’s Class A Tournament has one of the contenders to win a championship. And you can bet Hegerle and Trumbauer will be doing their part.
“We’re playing with confidence and that is so important (this time of year),’’ Leah said.
Photo: Jamestown's Leah Trumbauer (left) and Edie Hegerle (Photo courtesy of Jon Jablonski)