BROOKINGS – The Bobcats qualified for the state tournament for the first time in 13 years this season, and setter Michaela Jewett was a big reason why.
She is the 2018 Register Volleyball Player of the Year.
“It went really well, really well,” the 6-foot senior and team captain said of the season. “I thought we played really well at the state tournament, had a lot of synergy, and we all worked together and it just flowed and it worked for us.”
Jewett, a three-time All-Register selection in volleyball, totaled 918 set assists this season.
She finished with 2,239 in her career to absolutely shatter the school record (previously 1,318).
“Michaela has a competitive nature to her that I haven’t seen matched in a lot of players,” said BHS coach Jodi Melius. “As a setter, her primary responsibility is getting the ball to her hitters but she’s such a competitive player that she’s constantly looking to score the point for the team no matter how it gets done. So that’s led her to become really a great offensive force at the net.”
Jewett’s ability to locate the ball on the attack kept opposing teams off balance. She recorded 173 kills on the year.
“When defenses have to face the possibility of a setter attack, it really opens things up for our hitters as well,” added Melius. “So not only was she often able to deliver a great ball for our hitters, just that threat of her being able to attack herself really kept blockers on their toes, which just gave us all the more opportunities to score points.”
Jewett served at a 91.3-percent clip while netting 51 aces.
She also tallied 47 total blocks (four solo) and came up with 400 digs on defense.
Brookings won seven of its final nine regular-season matches to earn the No. 9 seed in the SoDak 16, where it traveled to Aberdeen Central and won 25-23, 25-17, 17-25, 25-15 to advance to state.
“I think everyone just started working together and we were playing as a whole team instead of individually, and that’s what helped us a lot,” Jewett said of the strong finish.
The Bobcats dropped a 25-17, 25-23, 25-20 first-round match to eventual champion Rapid City Stevens at state.
They bounced back with a 25-17, 29-27, 26-24 sweep of Huron – a team that twice swept Brookings during the regular season. Mitchell edged Brookings 25-20, 17-25, 20-25, 25-19, 15-13 in the fifth-place match.
“It was awesome; it was a really good experience,” Jewett said of the state tourney – the Bobcats’ first since 2005. “Not just for us, but for the students to see what it’s like to be at state and for even the players and the younger generations to see ‘wow, this is what state’s like; I want to make it myself.’”
Jewett was an all-tournament selection as she totaled 109 set assists, 15 kills, five service aces, four total blocks (one solo) and 49 digs in the three matches.
“Making that trip to the state tournament for the first time in so many years was a great experience for all our players, especially our seniors, who led us there and really accomplished what needed to be done this season,” added Melius. “But also for the rest of our program; we have 10 players on the roster who aren’t seniors who have another shot to get back there next year. So I think that motivation will do great things for the program in the future.”
Jewett is a South Dakota Miss Volleyball finalist – the winner is announced today – and made the South Dakota All-Star squad.
She was a two-time All-Eastern South Dakota Conference selection.
Jewett earned Academic All-State honors.
In addition to the record set assists total, Jewett finished her career with 914 digs, 314 kills and 88 service aces.
And now it’s on to the basketball season for the Augustana commit.
Jewett, a two-time All-Register selection in hoops and the reigning Player of the Year, was blunt when asked of her expectations.
“We want to make it to state – that’s our one goal,” she said. “We’ll have to work hard, just like volleyball, and hopefully we’ll get there.”