MT. VERNON – The Jesup J-Hawks started out fast, but ultimately lost to the Mt. Vernon Mustangs in the Class 3A, Region 5 semifinal game at Mt. Vernon High School on Tuesday.
Jesup won the first two sets, but Mt. Vernon came back to win the final three sets, as the Mustangs won 3-2 (22-25, 22-25, 25-18, 25-18, 15-7).
J-Hawks head coach Eryca Bass said her team came out strong against a tough Mt. Vernon team, which includes strong outside hitter Lauren Shrock and libero Jorie Randall.
“We were able to control the first two matches by shutting down their other outside option and taking good solid swings to limit their use of their middle hitters,” Bass said. “We won the first two games 25-22. Our determination, effort and our hustle was strong for all of the matches, we definitely showed that we were a scrappy team during last night’s match.”
Unfortunately for Jesup, Mt. Vernon rallied back to win the next three sets to secure the victory.
“In the third and fourth games, our serving and tip defense fell off, and against a team like Mt. Vernon you have to continue to be top notch in all areas of the game or they will push ahead,” Bass said. “They came out on top in the last few games, but this was what some would call a good loss. We lost yes, but we showed a lot of heart and we never gave up.”
Jesup combined for 41 kills, 38 assists, 73 digs, 21 blocks and five aces in Tuesday’s regional semifinal game.
Junior Kenna McCombs led the team with 13 kills and two aces, while also contributing five digs.
Junior Alexis Harris led Jesup with 34 assists, which puts her only seven away from reaching 1,000 career assists. She was also second on the team with 14 digs.
Sophomore Leah Becker led the J-Hawks with seven blocks, which helped put Jesup in the top three in the state for total blocks. She was also second on the team with 11 kills.
Freshman Caelor Wymore led the team with 15 digs, and also had one assist and one ace.
Mt. Vernon combined for 60 kills, 57 assists, 78 digs, nine blocks and 10 aces in their win.
Jesup closes out their season with a 22-14 record after being eliminated by Mt. Vernon.
“J-Hawk volleyball could not be prouder of every individual on this team for what they brought to last night’s game and the entire year,” Bass said. “We have been the most victorious volleyball team at Jesup in at least 12 years.”