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Hammerin' Hensch: Senior outside sparks Jimmies to victory

Jamestown's Morgan Hensch (14) tips the ball during a block with Madison Wendel Tuesday against Dickinson State's Kylie Hadley at Harold Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun

University of Jamestown was mired in a bit of a funk during Tuesday's opening set against Dickinson State University.

The 19th-ranked Jimmie volleyball team trailed the visiting Blue Hawks 23-19 at Harold Newman Arena, and it was pretty much decided except the final score. But that's when senior outside hitter Morgan Hensch put the orange and black on her back.

Hensch delivered a pair of kills and two block assists during a 7-1 Jamestown run to close the set. The Jimmies took the opener 26-24 and went on to sweep the Blue Hawks 25-14, 25-13.

"Oh man. You know, sometimes you get a little slow out of the chute, right?" Hensch said. "We know someone's gonna step up, and sometimes it's me and sometimes it's other people.

"Mostly it's other people," Hensch laughed. "But it was fun to step up tonight."

It wasn't exactly the way Jimmie head coach Jon Hegerle would have liked to start a three-match conference homestand to close the regular season. But Jamestown largely dug in and took care of business after the shaky opener, en route to victory No. 19.

"Dickinson played well, but I didn't think we passed well or dug well, or did anything in the first set," Hegerle said. "At that point it's trying to find our rhythm, and the only way we do that is by getting after it."

Hensch finished with a match-high 10 kills and a hitting percentage of .321. She also sent three of Jamestown's final six points to the floor in set 2.

"She's been up and down," Hegerle said of Hensch. "We changed the location of our sets a little bit so that she could hit the ball coming into it more and it seems to have worked.

"When she gets on a roll, she can really hit it. She really unloaded on a number of balls tonight."

The Blue Hawks (6-16) were led by Kylie Hadley with seven kills and Sage Collins with five. Collins scored three of those kills early in the away team's impressive opener.

"Our hitters were aggressive in the first set, and then they weren't in the next two," Dickinson State coach Jen Hartman said. "I thought that was definitely the difference. We just gotta keep working hard and building their confidence on that."

Jamestown senior middles Haley Glasoe and Madison Wendel have played outstanding pretty much all season, and that continued down the stretch Tuesday. Glasoe racked up seven block assists and two solo blocks, while Wendel fired eight kills to the floor to go along with four total blocks.

Sophomore right-side hitter Isabel Wedell scored seven kills with a hitting percentage of .429 for the Jimmies. Senior libero Elise Peterson turned up a match-high 14 digs.

Jamestown hosts Valley City State (13-11, 7-6 NSAA) at 4 p.m. on Friday and Mayville State (6-24, 2-11 NSAA) at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

"Just play with a ton of joy, because it's going to get to playoffs and things just get crazy after that," Hensch said. "So just enjoy our crowd, enjoy our court and enjoy each other at home."

"We need to come out with a lot more fire and energy than we came out with tonight," Hegerle added. "Come out focused and make sure we're into it as much as the other team."

Jamestown 3, Dickinson State 0

DS 24 14 13

UJ 26 25 25

DS leaders—Kills: Kylie Hadley 7, Sage Collins 5, Ellie Hanser 4, , Shelby Gustafson 3. Assists: Makenzie Digesualdo 11, Brianna Holland 10. Aces: Alli Hert 1, Shaylee Singleton 1. Digs: Holland 8, Singleton 6, Digesualdo 6, Hadley 5. Blocks: Kennedy Hildebrand 4.

UJ—Kills: Morgan Hensch 10, Madison Wendel 8, Isabel Wedell 7, Haley Glasoe 3, Kennedy Conzemius 3, Jessica Velander 2, Jordan Thomas 2, Joise Beckman 1. Assists: Whitney King 15, Beckman 12, Elise Peterson 4, Velander 1, Julina Niemeier 1, Glasoe 1, Wedell 1. Aces: Kori Buchanan 2, Beckman 1. Digs: Peterson 14, Niemeier 5, Wedell 5, Buchanan 4, King 4, Meghan Orr 4, Beckman 3, Hensch 1, Conzemius 1. Blocks: Glasoe 9, Wendel 4, Hensch 3, Britta Knudson 2, Velander 2, Wedell 1, Conzemius 1.

Records: Jamestown 19-7, 12-2 NSAA. Dickinson State 6-16, 4-10 NSAA.

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

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