ST. PAUL – “I feel like I just got punched in the gut,” Jordan head volleyball coach Jason Geisel said after Jordan fell in the Class AA Semifinal to Stewartville 21-25, 25-17, 18-25, 25-23, 18-16. How else can you put it after your team leads 14-11 in the fifth set and see three chances to go to the state championship match slip through your fingers.
For the second straight night the Jordan Jaguars would be in a fifth set, but this time would not be able to pick up the victory in their ninth five-set match of the season. Another spectacular performance from senior setter Emilee Gutzmer with 62 set assists and now has 1,159 on the season and is 32 set assists away from setting a new state record. Jordan was led on the attack by Kelsey Chambers with 33 kills and 24 digs. Paige Smith added 12 kills, while Rachel Freund had 11 kills for Jordan.
The first set would start well for Jordan as they would have a 4-0 and 5-0 runs on the serves of Becca Pauly and Paige Smith respectively, to take a 16-9 lead. Jordan would cruise to a 25-21 victory in the first set.
Stewartville would come out hard in the second set with an 8-0 run on the serve of libero Katie Bauman with a float serve that confused the Jordan serve receive to put Stewartville up 10-3. Jordan would not be able to get the score within six the rest of the way and Stewartville would use the kills from twin sisters Hannah and Paige Tapp to put Jordan away 25-17 in the second set.
The third set would see a lot of mini-runs by both teams before Jordan would go on a late 4-0 run on the serve of Paige Smith to put Jordan up 17-13 and force Stewartville to use their first timeout. Jordan would maintain the lead and finish the set on a kill by Paige Smith to win 25-18 and go up two sets to one.
The fourth set would be the closest of the night that saw 15 ties and 8 lead changes with neither team able to have more than a two point lead until a 4-0 run by Stewartville made the score 21-17 thanks to three kills from Paige Tapp. Jordan would respond with a 3-0 run to make the score 23-22, Stewartville. Stewartville would get the final two points of the set on attacking errors by Jordan to win 25-23 and force a fifth set.
Wild swings would define the fifth set as Jordan would get out to a 4-2 lead early. Stewartville would go on a 4-0 run thanks to three attacking errors by Jordan to take the lead back at 6-4. The Jags would come back with a 4-0 run of their own on the serve of junior libero Hannah Klegstad with kills from Rachel Freund and Kelsey Chambers to take the lead back at 9-7. Jordan would maintain the lead to 14-11 and then the set of points every Jordan fan will be reliving for a while. The opportunities would go away thanks to a net violation, attacking error and finally a kill by Hannah Tapp from Stewartville to tie the score 14-14. Stewartville would finish the match on a kill from Hannah Tapp to win 18-16 to advance to the Class AA state championship.
Stewartville was lead by Hannah and Paige Tapp with 20 kills in the victory.
Jordan falls to 21-11 on the season and will take on Wadena-Deer Creek at 1pm for third place in Class AA that match can be heard on Oldies 95.5 FM and online at kchkradio.net.
By: Adam Bartels