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High School Volleyball: Jackson sweeps conference rival Notre Dame

The Jackson volleyball team came one step closer to winning the
SEMO North Conference regular-season championship last Thursday with a win over
crosstown rival Cape Notre Dame.

The Indians (6-1, 3-0 SEMO) only needed two sets to defeat the
Bulldogs (9-2-2, 1-1) on the road as senior outside hitter Mackenzie Stoner and
junior outside hitter Olivia Ward tied for a team-high eight kills.

“A goal of ours [this season] was to win conference, and to win
conference you basically have to go undefeated,” Jackson head coach David Mirly
said. “[This game] was a big step in that and we had to earn it.”

Jackson was able to win the first set over Notre Dame handedly
25-10 as the Indians went on a 7-0 run to end the set and also recorded a 3-0
run early on.

Stoner helped lead the 7-0 run for the Indians to win the set by
recording three kills in the span, which propelled the Jackson’s student
section to chant, “You can’t stop her.”

“[Our student section] is awesome — it gives the girls so much
energy,” Coach Mirly said. “I’m so happy and proud that our fans come out and
support us. We feel like we’re putting out a very good product, and they feed
off of us and we feed off of them.”

The Indians junior middle hitter Hannah Shinn recorded four of her
seven kills in the first set of the match, who also produced one of her team’s
four blocks. Shinn finished with a kill percentage of 58.3%, which was the best
amongst hitters in the game.

Shinn recorded two of her final three kills early in the second set
in what was a back-and-forth contest to start. The game was tied 4-4 until
Jackson went on a 4-0 run during which Stoner recorded her sixth kill.

“Every time [Shinn] jumps up to hit, it’s just something pretty
special because she gets that arm swing so hard,” Coach Mirly said. “She can
reach and jump so high that I just kind of wonder who she’s going to hit on the
other side of the net. She’s real passionate out on the court and it’s awesome
watching her play every night.”

After the Indians went up 8-4 over the Bulldogs, they held onto the
lead for the remainder of the match to take the second set 25-19 as senior
defensive specialist Piper Guilliams scored the game-winning point with an ace.

Jackson’s defense and passing attack also played a pivotal role in
defeating Notre Dame 2-0 as first-year starting libero junior Katelyn Miller
finished with eight digs. She also finished with a perfect serve percentage, as
did three other Indians, going 9-for-9.

“Katelyn Miller is doing such a great job,” Coach Mirly said. “The
other day, I made a comment, ‘Hannah Wilson who?’ I say that with the up most
respect because I love Hannah Wilson to death and she’s one of the best passers
I’ve ever coached. Katelyn Miller is stepping right into her shoes and doing a
phenomenal job all over the floor.”

On top of Miller’s play, Coach Mirly also said she brings the team
up with her personality since she is always communicating with her teammates.

Miller was paced by Guilliams in digs with six throughout the
match, who also went 10-for-10 in serves. Guilliams also finished with a perfect serve percentage last week
against Cape Central at 11-for-11.

“Piper has been working really hard on her serve,” Mirly said.
“She’s tweaked it a little bit on her own, and it’s really paid off. … That’s
just a captain, a leader and great player making an adjustment and doing what
she has to do to be successful.”

Against Notre Dame, Guilliams scored a total of six serving points
and also had a team-high two aces. The Indians junior defensive specialist
Riley O’Neal recorded a team-high seven serving points while finishing
10-for-10 in her serves.

On top of her eight kills, Stoner was the fourth player for Jackson
to finish with a perfect serving percentage as she had four attempts.

Jackson’s first-year starting setter junior Madelyn Bourner
recorded 19 assists out of the team’s 26 kills. Bourner also finished with six
serving points, three digs and one ace while going 9-for-10 in serving.

“When we pass well, Madelyn is so good at distributing the ball,
and our hitters just do a good job of putting it in play and putting it down
with power,” Coach Mirly said. “We just feed off of that momentum.”

To win the regular-season conference title for a second-straight
year, the Indians will have to defeat Sikeston (2-9, 0-3) this Tuesday at the
Event Center.

Sikeston fell to Cape Central 2-0, Notre Dame 2-1 and lastly Poplar
Bluff 2-0. Jackson defeated both Cape teams as well as Poplar Bluff 2-0. The
Indians defeated Sikeston 2-0 last year.

Nick McNeal covers high school sports, college sports and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Cape Girardeau County for the past five years. He can be reached at cbjsports@socket. net.

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