* Jami is the daughter of Men's 14" John and Judy Ewart of Aberdeen
Two seniors on the Aberdeen Roncalli volleyball team had a pretty good week.
Jami Ewart recorded her 1,000th career dig during a match against Ipswich, while Megan Streier recorded her 2,000th set assists during a match against Britton-Hecla.
As impressive as those numbers are, the fact they were reached was a bit of a surprise to both.
“Honestly, I didn’t even know where I was,” Streier said. “I didn’t even know I was close when I got 1,000 (assists).”
Ewart expressed that same feeling.
“I had no idea I was close,” Ewart said. “I never thought about (1,000) digs coming into this year. I wasn’t expecting it at all, but when I found out, as soon as it happened, I just wanted to get back into the mindset of just winning volleyball matches.”
Digging a volleyball is a bit of a dichotomy for Ewart. On offense as an outside hitter (right side), her job is to make sure the ball hits the floor. On defense, it’s to make sure it doesn’t.
“(Defense) is a little weird for me I guess,” Ewart said. “For me, on defense, I try to stay on the balls of my feet,” Ewart said. “You can’t be caught on your heels because you’ll have less control. You need to watch the hitter and the angle of the ball when they hit it. You kind of have to try and figure out where they like to hit the ball, and, when you do, stay low so you can control it a little better.”
When the ball is handled correctly, setters handle the ball more than anyone on the team as it’s their job to set the attack. The unique style from each hitter means the set must go to each hitter’s “sweet spot.” For Streier, she learns pretty early on where each attacker likes the ball, and, during a match, feels when each hitter is in the best spot.
“It’s one of those things where it’s not only communication with the hitters where they like the ball set but knowing where each (hitter) can have success,” Streier said. “If there’s a big blocker in front of them, they know the ball will have to be set more off the net. It’s kind of a mental communication, we know each other well enough, and they know where I’m setting the ball so they can have the best chance to score.”
Ideally, when the first ball is dug on the offensive side of the net, the setter shouldn’t have to move much. Sometimes that is not the case, but no matter where her feet take her, Streier is going to try to get the ball where it needs to be in order for a point to be secured.
“I’m picky, so I really want the ball to go to me so I can set it where the hitter can succeed,” Streier said. “So even if I’m going to dive on the floor, I’m still going to try to get the ball where it needs to go so our hitters can get some type of swing on, because that’s going to give our team the best chance to score.”
For Roncalli head coach Mandy Smid, Streier and Ewart have not only played together for several years, they’ve been productive.
“Years on the court don’t necessarily mean those type of numbers,” Smid said.
Smid also broke down how one of those statistical achievements added to the numbers of the other statistical achievement.
“With Jami and Megan playing together for so long, you can see how their career numbers correlate with one another,” Smid said. “If Jami had 1,000 digs, that’s 1,000 opportunities for Megan to make a set assist, so there are 1,000 (assists) for Megan. When you look at the numbers and how long they’ve both played, it’s pretty easy to see why they’ve been so successful.”
There were obvious expectations coming into this season for the Cavaliers, and so far, with an exception or two maybe, those expectations have pretty much been met.
Roncalli ran through the Northeast Conference schedule, finishing 10-0. Ewart and Streier both recognize they are part of a very special group.
“It’s been great, being able to play as a team,” Ewart said. “Playing so close with everybody, I mean we’ve been playing together for a long time. Finishing 10-0 in conference was a goal, for sure. Losing last year in regions pushed us really hard this year to make sure we beat every one of those teams.”
Streier confirmed the high expectations.
“With the talent we had coming back from last year with no seniors in that group we knew we could only get better,” Streier said. “With how hard we worked over the summer, we knew we could put ourselves in a position to succeed, and here we are.”
Roncalli will begin Region 1 play as the No. 2 seed and will host Tiospa Zina Tuesday at 7 p.m.