The 2019 Jefferson Volleyball Team made their mark in history on Sunday, November 3rd after defeating Monroe in five sets. Pool play began on Saturday and JCC entered the tournament seeded 3rd which meant they would face Finger Lakes, Genesee, and Jamestown. They got off to a quick start defeating Finger Lakes in all three sets (25-18, 25-16, and 25-12), next up was Genesee who Jefferson also defeated in all three sets (25-15, 25-22, and 25-17). Finally, Jefferson faced Jamestown and came away 1-2 (23-25, 19-25, and 25-19). This put Jefferson and Jamestown at a tie at 7-2 for the day, but since Jamestown defeated Jefferson twice in the head-to-head match, they would be the top seed advancing to play SUNY Broome on Sunday. Jefferson would advance to Sunday to play Monroe.
The first match on Sunday was between Jamestown and Broome and Jamestown came away a winner after the first three sets. They would be the first team to advance to the National Tournament representing the North A District.
Next up was Jefferson vs. Monroe. After 2 1/2 hours of play, Jefferson finished off Monroe in the fifth set to become the next team to advance to the National Tournament representing the North B District. Jefferson got off to a slow start, digging a 7 point deficit to start the first set and didn't really get rolling until it was too late, losing the first set 23-25. The second set saw a much different start, the Cannoneers polished off the Tribunes easily ending the second set at 25-10. The third set saw the Cannoneers keep a 2 or 3 point lead until the very end when they dropped the set 25-27. This put Jefferson behind 1-2 and they knew they had to clinch set 4 in order to force the fifth set, which they did, winning 25-18. The first 11 points of the 5th set was a battle, neither team built more than a 2 point lead. With the game tied at 11-11, Kelsey Finster served the ball long giving Monroe the lead at 12-11. With a kill from Brooke Everson, Jefferson tied it back up 12-12. Allison Burrows went back to serve and Monroe made an attacking error, giving JCC the lead at 13-12. With the next serve from Allison, Monroe had an overpass and Maggie Vazquez quickly put the ball away for the kill. This gave Jefferson their first match point at 14-12. Allison served the ball over giving Monroe the chance to put the ball away and they did with a deep tip. This still kept Jefferson at match point with Monroe serving, down 13-14. Jenna passed the ball up to Kelsey who had a back set to Maggie who put the ball away in a wide open back court! VICTORY!!! Jefferson redeemed their heart-breaking loss from last year in a 5 set thriller with Jamestown. The eight returning players from last season finally punched their ticket to Minnesota.
Marjorie Vazquez was named to the First Team All-Region as well as the Tournament MVP. She finished her weekend with 71 kills, 50 digs, and 20 blocks. Her final kill to clinch the championship is one she will never forget. Allison Burrows never cracked under pressure as she went back to serve with the match on the line and finished her weekend serving 83 times and never missing once. She compiled 54 service points, 35 kills, and 83 digs and was named to the Third Team All-Region as well as the All-Tournament Team. Kelsey Finster was also named to the All-Tournament Team and kept this team motivated and finished with 155 assists and 29 digs. Alyssa Evans was a solid force for the team all weekend and racked up 28 kills along with 19 digs, earning her spot as the Jefferson Athlete of the Week for her performance over the weekend. Grace Gehrke was named to the All-Tournament Team for her efforts and finished with 20 kills and 5 blocks. Brooke Everson helped the offensive charge with 17 kills and 43 digs. Jenna Wilson backed up her solid performance at MSAC with another great weekend of play at the defensive end compiling 91 digs and 36 service points. Nicole O'Connor stepped up big in the serving area and racked up 20 service points while Savanna Baker finished with 21 service points. Without the support of Aliza Deasy and Abby Sullivan pushing this team and cheering for them, they sure wouldn't have been as focused or energized.
When the final whistle was blown, and victory was ours, all eleven of these girls celebrated together. After all the hours of practice, through the moments of frustration and excitement, they realized they finally accomplished the goal they had waited a year for. This crew of Jefferson Volleyball players stayed focused for an entire year to "right the wrong"; to fix the devastating loss from the year before, and they did it with class. The 2016 team went down in history as the first team to ever bring a Regional Championship to Jefferson, but the 2019 topped them by one: they finished as the MSAC Champions as well as Regional Champions. These things are not just given away, they are earned. Well deserved, ladies. The volleyball world in the north country is smiling right along with you. Congratulations!