Talented Jimmies ready to tip it offTo say the Jimmies fell just short of their No. 1 goal last season would be an understatement.
By: Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
To say the Jimmies fell just short of their No. 1 goal last season would be an understatement.
With the NAIA National Tournament as the target, Jamestown College fell four points shy of that goal, falling 15-13 in the fifth set in a qualifying match.
The sting has worn off for the most part because of what the 2012 season could represent.
Coach Jon Hegerle’s team returns a talented roster, a handful of whom have been around for a big chunk of the Jimmies’ streak of winning four straight conference championships.
With familiar names like Katie Zent, Sarah Becker, Emilee Schutta, Katie Lee, Kelsey Deragisch, Alex Hanson and Beth Segerholm returning, the Jimmies hope to take that final step and as Hegerle put it, “We want to be in Sioux City (Iowa) in December.”
On paper, it certainly seems doable. On the court, Hegerle has been pleased as they head into a doubleheader today in Valley City to open the season. The Jimmies, who went 23-14 last season, take on Waldorf (Iowa) at 2 p.m. and the host Vikings at 4.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Our players have improved in a number of areas. That’s always what we hope for,” Hegerle said. “We seem to have a good group of senior leaders that have really stepped up and kept the culture competitive in the gym.”
With so many established and productive players returning, there did not figure to much available time for the new roster additions.
Zent, a three-time all-conference hitter leads the attack. Sarah Becker was the A.I.I. Player of the Year last season and throws up a wall of a block and is effective hitting as well. Emilee Schutta piled up 180 kills last season.
Katie Lee was one of the top defensive specialists in the region last season and Kelsey Deragisch will be the starting setter, but gained plenty of experience as a freshman and sophomore.
Hegerle also cited Segerholm’s early-season play from her DS spot.
The Jimmies did have a couple unexpected openings. Heather Brown transferred to a school with her major. Sarah Didychuk was lost with a major knee injury.
That left an opening for younger players and outside hitter Alaina Brown and Kaia Buck took advantage and both figure into the mix.
Kaitlyn Rogalla played extensively on the left side last season and also returns. So does Janna Johnson, although she’s sidelined with an injury.
“The girls have been playing with a lot of energy and excitement,” Hegerle said. “We didn’t quite expect to have the options we have. We have a strong group of players and it’s just a matter of playing consistently, particularly in those long matches where we didn’t quite do what it takes to finish some of those matches.”
That goes directly towards how last season ended. They’d love to be in the situation again, just with a different ending.
“We need to do the right things to create an opportunity to where we’re healthy and peaking at the right time so hopefully this time we can finish it off,” Hegerle said.
And spend December in Sioux City.
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com