Jimmies’ sights set on nationalsAll the usual X- and O-type things will be crucial for success in Mayville this weekend for the Jimmies.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
All the usual X- and O-type things will be crucial for success in Mayville this weekend for the Jimmies.
But with a 24-7 record, Jamestown College typically does those things well.
In order to earn a spot in the championship match, and thereby qualify for nationals, coach Jon Hegerle says playing with grit is the goal.
“When we throw the gloves off and get after it, we’re pretty formidable,” he said. “For some reason we don’t always do that and the main objective is to do that and do it consistently.”
The Jimmies are the No. 2 seed. California teams CSU-San Marcos, ranked 19th nationally, and La Sierra (21-11) played in the championship match in Arizona last year as the Jimmies fell just short in a five-setter in the semifinals to La Sierra.
Ashford, Iowa (22-16) is the No. 3 seed, La Sierra is fourth, the host Comets (23-13) are fifth and Valley City State (23-13) sixth. CSU-San Marcos (24-13) is the top seed.
Pool A consists of CSUSM, La Sierra and Mayville State. The Jimmies, Ashford and Valley City are Pool B. The top two teams advance to the semifinals Saturday. The championship game follows the semis.
“Playing well this time of year is not an option if you have hopes of advancing. The field is strong. If you don’t play well, you’re probably not going to be around very long,” Hegerle said.
The Jimmies have been building toward this moment. Their challenging schedule was crafted to have them tested come tournament time.
Virtually all of the key players have been in this position before.
Seniors Katie Zent, Katie Lee, Kaitlyn Rogalla, Emilee Schutta and Beth Segerholm are seasoned. Same is true for juniors Sarah Becker and Kelsey Deragisch.
Whether it’s the best team in the five-year run that produced four straight Dakota Athletic Conference championships is up for debate, but they do have as much depth on the attack as any recent team. Becker (2.96 kills per game), Zent (2.63) and Rogalla (2.53) provide a diverse hitting trio.
Playing in familiar surroundings also should be beneficial.
The Jimmies are undefeated the past five seasons at Lewy Lee Field House. The proximity to home also should allow for a strong contingency of support, but in the final analysis how they play will determine whether the season lives or dies.
“The biggest thing is to really focus on ourselves and make sure we do what’s necessary for us to be successful,” Hegerle said. “If we play up to our potential, we do feel good about our chances, but this is not going to be easy. We’ll have to be up for the challenge.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com