Just out of reach; Chargers fall in state championship game
By Jared Speckman
Jefferson County North fell just short of claiming the 2A state volleyball championship Saturday evening. The Chargers fell in two sets to Hillsboro High School, claiming a second place finish.
The Chargers entered the state tournament Friday night as a five seed and, through a series of minor upsets, found their way into the state title game.
The Chargers entered the state championship against Hillsboro, the defending 3A state champion who moved down a class for the 2013 season. Jefferson County had previously lost to the Trojans in pool play Friday night.
The Chargers controlled the first set from the beginning but the Trojans stayed on their heels enough to be within striking distance. The Chargers took a 13-10 lead before a swing in momentum let Hillsboro climb back into the set and take a 14-13 lead. Jefferson County North reclaimed the lead at 18-17 but were outscored 8-1 the rest of the way and fell in the first set 25-19.
With their backs against the ropes, JCN came out and took an early 2-0 lead in the second set. Hillsboro came storming back and took an 8-5 lead before another retort by the Chargers tied the game at 8-8. The firepower of the Trojans was too strong, however, as they started to run away with the set. They took a 17-12 lead before coach Paula Cobb took a timeout. The Hillsboro lead only grew and JCN found themselves down 20-13. Hillsboro eventually claimed a 25-17 victory, leaving the Chargers with a second place finish.
Two Charger girls were named to the all-tournament team. Jacee Kramer and Jamie Navinskey, both senior outside hitters, were named to the Class 2A all-tournament team. Kramer and Navinskey were both selected to the all-tournament team last year during their fourth place run.
The tournament began with pool play Friday. The Chargers began their run by facing off against the Mission Valley Vikings. A win over the fourth-seeded Vikings would give them an early edge to make it into the final four on Saturday.
The first set between JCN and Mission Valley was a back and forth battle early before the Chargers managed to pull away late and win 25-18.
Mission Valley responded in the second set jumping out to an early 7-4 lead before Chargers coach Paula Cobb took a timeout in hopes of stalling the momentum of the Vikings. Mission Valley stretched their lead to 14-5 before JCN had much of a chance to respond. The Chargers chipped away at their deficit and came within three points of the Vikings at 17-14. Another run by Mission Valley stretched their lead back to six at 22-16 before Cobb called another timeout. The Vikings prevailed, however, winning 25-18 and forcing a third set.
It was JCN who jumped out to an early advantage in the third set. The Chargers took a 12-8 lead before Mission Valley took a timeout. The Chargers ran their lead all the way to 17-10 before a comeback by Mission Valley threatened the Chargers’ state title hopes. The Vikings got within three at 18-15 before Cobb decided to take a timeout to halt Mission Valley’s momentum. The Vikings eventually tied the set at 21-21 and subsequently took a one-point lead. Two straight points gave JCN the lead once again at 23-22. The Vikings tied it once again before two straight points gave the Chargers a 25-23 match win.
The Chargers faced an uphill battle in their next match going up against Hillsboro, the number one seed with a 38-1 record.
It was JCN who looked like the team to beat early in the first set as they jumped out to a 4-1 lead. They maintained a small lead more than halfway through the set before Hillsboro tied it at 18-18. Hillsboro would tie the game twice more before finally taking the lead, one they would hold for good. Hillsboro took a 22-20 lead befor JCN called for a timeout to regroup. The Chargers would eventually pull within 24-23 but the Trojans ended the set on the next point.
The second set once again looked promising for the Chargers as they stormed out to a 3-0 lead. Their momentum stalled, however, and Hillsboro came charging back to take a 4-3 lead. The Chargers would tie the set at 6-6 but Hillsboro reclaimed the lead and never looked back. They took a commanding 18-13 lead, forcing JCN into taking a timeout. The Chargers were unable to make a late run at the Trojans and fell 25-20.
With their record at 1-1, the Chargers only needed to beat eighth-seeded Meade to advance to the second round. Jefferson County seized the momentum early and never relinquished it until they defeated Meade twice. In the first set, JCN won 25-18. The Chargers put together an even more commanding performance in the second set, running away with a 25-15 victory.
Up next for the Chargers was a game against second-seeded Bucklin. Bucklin was the top seed in pool two and won all three of their pool games Friday night.
The Chargers came out hot and took an early 9-4 lead. Bucklin came storming back to tie the set at 9-9 before retaking the lead and extended it to 13-9 before Bucklin called a timeout. The Chargers would maintain their lead late into the set and score the final three points to take a first set victory 25-21.
The second set was also tightly contested but this time it was Bucklin who took an early 4-2 lead. They stretched that lead before Jefferson County took a timeout down 11-7.
That timeout sparked a comeback from the Chargers as they scored four straight points to tie the set at 13-13. Their hot streak ended, however, as Bucklin took the lead and the next five points to open up a 18-13 lead. The Chargers made another comeback and tied the set at 19-19. They would tie the match five more times but were unable to capture the lead and eventually succumbed to Bucklin, 26-24.
In the third set, the Chargers took the lead early and never looked back. Jefferson County North extended their lead to 18-13 after a Bucklin timeout and assured that they would advance to the stat title game. They defeated Bucklin 25-21 to advance to the state title match.
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