ELKHART - The turning point in Thursday's Northern Indiana Conference volleyball match between Jimtown and Elkhart Central came in the first game.

The Jimmies erased a 21-15 deficit in that game and outlasted the Blue Blazers, 27-25.

Jimtown gained confidence and picked up critical points in finishing out the match with 25-22 and 25-21 wins.  

"That was big," said Jimtown coach Bill Stose about rallying to win the first game. "We started out rough. The girls weren't communicating and weren't working together. All of a sudden they just started getting it all together and started playing how we like to see our team playing. We stopped playing as individuals and started playing as a team. That always makes a difference.

Jimtown scored the final three points in the first game. Before the Jimmies won the game on an ace from Kendall Griffee, the Blue Blazers had a service error and a kill that went out of bounds. 

"I definitely think that started the downfall for us," said Central coach Yolanda Stahl. "We had a comfortable lead and then we started making errors. The team was really down on themselves. We couldn't get back in the groove."

In the final two games, there were brief spells when Central looked sharp. But lack of execution on kills, along with poor serving and passing prevented prolonged success.

Jimtown took advantage of Central's struggles, as the Jimmies erased a 10-5 deficit in game two and went on a 16-5 run to take a 21-15 lead. 

Camri Garretson's kill clinched the second game for Jimtown.   

"Hard work and perseverance helped us win game two," Stose said. "This year we have a well rounded and very balanced team. They all support one another and are committed to one another. They cheer each other on. I really like to see that out of my players."

Stose also had to like his team's fight in a very competitive third game. Jimtown trailed in that game only once at 2-1, but the Jimmies never had a comfortable advantage over Central. The biggest lead of the game was five points, which the Jimmies owned at 21-16 and 22-17. 

The Blue Blazers pulled within 23-21 before losing the final two points on a service error and an ace from Garretson. 

Gabby Desimone contributed three service aces, two kills and two blocks in the final game. Gabby Desimone led the Jimmies offensively with six kills. Garretson added five and Gianna Desimone had four. Setter Isabel Ortega totaled 21 assists, while defensively, Griffee had eight digs. 

"Our outside hitters (Cali Campbell and Gianna Desimone) definitely brought a little bit more in this game than I've seen," Stose said.

"But even from the middle we're seeing a lot of production. Gabby Desimone is having a great season. Camri Garretson has also been coming along in the first few games. I'm excited to see her to continue to progress through the year."

Freshman Hannah Teich led the Blue Blazers offensive with six kills. Evan Hobik, Kyleigh Estes and Micheala Whitaker each added four.

"I think that we played unfocused," Stahl said. "We didn't come to play to compete. We had so many errors."


JIMTOWN DEF. ELKHART CENTRAL 27-25, 25-22, 25-21

Jimtown leaders: Aces - Gabby Desimone 4, Isabel Ortega 2, Kendall Griffee 2. Assists - Ortega 21. Kills - Gabby Desimone 6, Camri Garretson 5,  Gianna Desimone 4, Cali Campbell 3. Blocks - Garretson 4, Gabby Desimone 2. Digs - Griffee 8, Gabby Desimone 4, Gianna Desimone 4, Ortega 3.

Central leaders: Aces - Taryn Roberson 3, Hannah Teich 2. Kills - Teich 6, Evan Hobik 4, Kyleigh Estes 4, Micheala Whitaker 4. Blocks - Estes 2. Digs - Grimes 6, Shawna Foulk 5.

Records: Central 3-1 (0-1 NIC), Jimtown 3-4 (1-0 NIC).

JV: Elkhart Central def. Jimtown 26-24, 12-25, 15-2.    

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