History made: Jeffers overpowers Baraga in 3-1 for first home win

Eddie O’Neill/Daily Mining Gazette The Jets’ Miranda Heinonen (11) and Heidi Hillstrom (12) attempt to block an attack from the Vikings’ Erin Kamarainen in a match Tuesday at Jeffers Gym.

PAINESDALE — It was history in the making Tuesday night at the Jeffers High School gym. The girls volleyball team returned to the court after decades of being away. For the last decade, the Jets had been a part of the Chassell Panthers, so it was hard to say just what fans would be subject to as the Jets returned to play on their own.

The Jets started the new era with a 3-1 win over the Baraga Vikings.

They lost the first match, 22-25, before winning the next three, 25-14, 25-4, and 25-11.

“I was so proud of my girls,” said Jets head coach Rachel Torp. “This is my first year as coach, and so I am a little nervous. Tonight is hopefully the start of many good things to come for this program.”

In the first set, the two teams battled it out point-for-point for the first 10 points of the game. Baraga then pulled away with a run of eight by Martina Jahfetson. The game also saw 20 hit attempts by senior Erin Kamarainen. There were a number of long volleys and the visitors found themselves up, 22-14, before closing things out.

“We controlled the game,” said Vikings coach Heather Chosa. “We communicated well and moved the ball around.”

In the second set, it was as if a different set of girls came out on the court to play, for both teams. The Jets jumped out to a 12-1 lead thanks in part to a big run by Heidi Hillstrom. Hillstrom’s jump serve proved to be too much for the Baraga defense.

“It was a tough one to catch,” stated Chosa of the devastating serve, “and when we got our hands on it, we would more often than not make an errant hit. We were always on the defensive those last three games.”

The Jets not only overpowered their opponent at the service line, but also in the volley, as throughout the following sets, they kept the Vikings guessing where the ball was going to come over the net next. A lot of the Jets’ points fell in the middle of the court behind the front line and just in front of the back line. Jets junior Brenna Hill pushed a number of those hits over the net and out of reach of the Vikings. She also led the Jets in kills with 14 on the night.

Chosa told her girls to pick up their feet and keep moving between the second and third matches. She could not help but ask her girls, “Where did the momentum go?”

It was of little help as Game Three looked a lot like Game Two as the Jets flew out to 18-3 lead. The Jets’ Hillstrom was again a driving force with a run of 16 points off her serve.

“She has a powerful jump serve, that kept (Baraga) on their toes,” said Torp.

It was the same scene in the fourth set as the Jets took a 15-6 lead and never looked back.

“It was a lot of fun to watch,” Torp said.

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