The Indians posted a 25-17, 28-26 home victory Thursday night
The Jackson Indians came out firing.
The Notre Dame Bulldogs came out flat.
Jackson dominated Notre Dame in the first game and held off the Bulldogs in the second to win 25-17, 28-26 in front of a raucous home crowd Thursday.
"We were pretty excited," Indians coach Maile Gannon said. "We haven't been able to find a rhythm yet this season. We are starting to gel and come alive. Tonight we played to the ability we can play to."
The Indians (10-12) wasted little time jumping all over the Bulldogs (16-3).
Jackson hammered its way to a 5-1 lead and extended it to 11-2 before Notre Dame called its first timeout.
The Indians dominated the net, consistently putting Notre Dame on the defensive.
"That was really nice," Gannon said. "We love to surprise Notre Dame. We came out and were confident on our home court. We had a great crowd. We started off serving well. We do a lot of jump serves and there is a tendency to miss and lose the momentum, but tonight we served great. They have a lot of great hitters, like Allyson Bradshaw. They can really swing, but we did a good job hitting our spots."
Jackson kept the pressure on. After the Bulldogs used a 4-0 run to pull to 15-9, Jackson quelled the threat.
The Indians' defense was key, led by libero Hayley Bohnert's 21 digs.
Two of those digs fought off two Bradshaw spikes and gave the Indians a key point and a 20-14 lead.
The Indians took the first game on a Notre Dame failed block, one of many miscues for the Bulldogs in the first game.
"We seemed a little bit off," Notre Dame coach Tara Stroup said. "I felt like they were running their offense, and we weren't. We either had a bad pass or when we had a good pass then we had a bad set."
The second game looked to be even uglier for Notre Dame.
Jackson looked to have the Bulldogs down and beaten early.
The Indians jumped out to a 5-0 lead and stretched it to 9-2 before the Bulldogs finally got it going.
Notre Dame responded with a 7-1 run to close the gap to 10-9.
It was back-and-forth action from there.
The two teams never separated by more than three points, and Notre Dame grabbed its first lead of the match at 22-21.
"I went out in a timeout and asked the girls if they enjoyed this feeling," Stroup said. "I told them to take their frustration out on the ball. We just couldn't run an offense. But our team has a competitive spirit. They don't enjoy losing and they gave it their best shot."
Notre Dame took a 23-22 lead and threatened to push it to a third game, but Jackson refused to wilt.
The Indians fought back and regained the lead at 25-24 after Laurie Clippard put down a kill.
The two teams traded points before Kelsey McDowell smashed one for the win.
"We were really pumped," McDowell said. "They are a big rival and it felt really good. We talked a lot tonight. It took awhile to bond, but we finally meshed tonight, and I feel like we grew a lot this game."
McDowell led the Indians with 24 assists and two digs. Kylie Seyer added 10 kills, 10 digs and two service aces.
The Bulldogs were led by Bradshaw's four kills and 14 digs.