If Saturday night was the season finale for the Jimmies, they went out in style. All four University of Jamestown seniors made key contributions in its 25-18, 25-19, 25-13 beating of Mayville State in the championship match of the North Star Athletic Association tournament at the Hansen Center.
The win yet again demonstrated the wide chasm between the Jimmies and the rest of the five-team league, which expands to six next season with Dickinson State. The sixth team means that next year’s conference champion will advance to nationals.
The only way this year was via an at-large bid, which is unlikely for the Jimmies, who needed to be ranked in the top 25, but are not despite their sparkling 26-8 record.
“It’s a shame,” head coach said Jon Hegerle said bluntly of his team’s likely postseason fate. “These girls did everything asked of them. Their body of work this season speaks for itself.”
The Jimmies blitzed the NSAA, winning all nine matches and dropping just two sets.
“We always really focused on our preparation for each match and being ready for our next opponent, regardless of who it was,” said senior Alex Hanson, who pounded down nine kills. “We always felt like if we played well, then we’d have a really good chance of winning.”
That rang true all fall for the Jimmies, who have not lost since Oct. 18.
It was all on display Saturday night as the Jimmies hit. 340, had eight aces and seemed to have a wall up on every Mayville State attack. Even if the Comets were feeling frisky about their chances, the Jimmies raced out to a 14-3 lead in the opening set and never looked back.
“I thought we played really well. It was one of our best matches here this season,” Hegerle said.
He singled out seniors Sarah Becker, Kelsey Deragisch, Sarah Didychuk and Hanson.
Deragisch aced out the match with the final two points. Didychuk had four block-assists and Becker was, well, Sarah Becker, finishing with 17 kills and hitting a through-the-roof .773. But as usual, she deflected credit.
“It’s an honor to play with these girls,” Becker said. “To have a season like this any year, let alone your senior year, is pretty special.
“Regardless of what happens, we can look back on this season with a lot of pride because we accomplished a lot and clearly we’re a very good volleyball team.”
University of Jamestown 3,
Mayville State 0
Mayville 18 19 13
Jamestown 25 25 25
Kelsey Deragisch: 15 assists, 3 aces, 9 digs.
Alaina Brown: 8 kills, 3 aces, 7 digs
Kaitlin Anderson: 2 kills, 1 dig, 1 block.
Janna Johnson: 8 kills, 2 digs.
Sarah Didychuk: 2 kills, 4 blocks.
Sarah Becker: 17 kills, 1 dig, 3 blocks.
Amanda Kramer: 2 assists, 12 digs.
Elise Peterson: 1 ace, 5 digs.
Kaia Buck: 24 assists, 1 ace, 3 digs.
Alex Hanson: 9 kills, 1 dig.
Nicole Warren: 5 digs.
Kaitlyn Bollingberg: 1 kill.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com