Jimmies split in Neb.
Now six matches into the season, coach Jon Hegerle and the University of Jamestown volleyball team are looking for leaders to emerge.
The Jimmies kept their record level at 3-3 at the Bellevue, Nebraska tournament on Friday, where ups and downs were sprinkled throughout UJ’s opening two matches. The Jimmies fell in five sets to Culver-Stockton College, but were able to bounce back with a 3-1 victory over Ashford University (Iowa) to close the day.
“That’s something we’re battling with. Finding out who is going to take over the reigns as far as leadership on the court and those types of things,” Hegerle said. “When we struggle we get sloppy with passing the ball and not taking care of free balls, and there’s a number of opportunities out there to earn points.”
The Jimmies were sitting pretty against Culver-Stockton College at the start, jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the match after taking the first two sets 27-25 and 25-19. But the Wildcats stormed back to sweep the final three sets, taking the fifth set 15-6, behind a pair of outstanding performances.
Wildcat setter Casey Giovanazzi posted 53 assists in the come-from-behind win, while 6-foot-2 Karmin Gold slammed in a match-high 24 kills. The Wildcats were playing their first match of the season.
“They’ve got a really good setter that transferred in and an All-American outside hitter,” Hegerle said. “We shut (Gold) down the first two sets, but once they started moving her around she was just unstoppable.
“But, boy, we fell apart pretty quick too.”
The Jimmies also played to a five-set loss to Saint Thomas University on Aug. 21 in Florida. The Jimmies dropped the final in that one 15-10, and Hegerle knows the Jimmies will need to find another gear down the stretch to turn those five-set matches into Jimmie victories.
“I know the players are really disappointed with that,” Hegerle said. “It’s the second five-set match we’ve played and we really haven’t performed well in that fifth set.”
University of Jamestown was led by Naomi Walther and Heather Bachman with 11 kills each against the Wildcats. Kaia Buck tossed up 24 assists, while Aubrey Beaumont added 23 more for the Jimmies. UJ’s Amanda Kramer turned up 20 digs in the back row.
After playing to an even 1-1 match score against the Ashford University Saints, the Jimmies turned up the heat and rolled to victory 25-17, 25-23. The Saints had played to a 4-1 record entering the match.
“They ran a really up-tempo offense and it was just really difficult to defend them,” Hegerle said. “It almost had a feel of just a frantic sprint the whole match, and I really thought at times we struggled to maintain our composure, but other times we did a pretty good job.
“It was the type of team I’d like to play more often. It forced us to play at a really fast level, and for us to win in four was good.”
Alaina Brown and Janna Johnson each posted 10 kills for the Jimmies in the victory, while Kramer put up another solid 20-dig effort. Beaumont (20 assists) and Buck (17) combined for 37 assists.
“I thought our setters are starting to make better decisions and that’s a big part of it,” Hegerle said of the win.
The Jimmies play two more matches today starting with No. 6-ranked Grand View University (Iowa) at 11 a.m. UJ will then take on Clarke University (Iowa) at 3.
“Clarke beat us down at their place last year and it left a bitter taste in our mouths. So we’d certainly like to rectify that if possible,” Hegerle said. “Right now we’re trying different things and finding out what things are going to make us the best team as we get to the end of the season.
“We have to continue to be patient and give the kids opportunities and allow them to step up to the challenge.”
At Bellevue, Neb.
Culver-Stockton (Mo.) 3, University of Jamestown 2
UJ 27 25 18 20 6
CS 25 19 25 25 15
University of Jamestown statistics
Aubrey Beaumont: 4 kills, 23 assists
Alaina Brown: 6 kills, 3 aces, 11 digs
Naomi Walther: 11 kills, 1 assist, 3 blocks
Janna Johnson: 10 kills, 3 digs, 2 blocks
Elise Peterson: 8 digs
Kaitlin Anderson: 9 kills, 4 digs, 4 blocks
Amanda Kramer: 4 assists, 1 ace, 20 digs
Kaia Buck: 24 assists, 1 ace, 7 digs
Siri Jystad: 1 kill, 1 block
Madison Wendel: 1 kill
Kaitlyn Bollingberg: 7 kills, 1 dig, 2 blocks
Heather Bachman: 11 kills, 1 dig, 2 blocks
University of Jamestown 3, Ashford, Iowa 1
UJ 25 23 25 25
Ashford 19 25 17 23
University of Jamestown Statistics
Beaumont: 3 kills, 20 assists, 1 ace, 17 digs
Brown: 10 kills, 1 ace, 19 digs, 4 blocks
Walther: 7 kills, 2 assists, 1 ace, 8 digs, 5 blocks
Johnson: 10 kills, 3 digs, 2 blocks
Peterson: 1 ace, 13 digs
Anderson: 9 kills, 1 dig, 5 blocks
Kramer: 1 kill, 4 assists, 20 digs
Buck: 1 kill, 17 assists, 15 digs
Bollingberg: 5 kills, 4 digs, 2 blocks.
Bachman: 7 kills, 3 digs, 3 blocks
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at 701-952-8461 or by email at email@example.com