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Early importance: Big week for JHS, UJ teams

MAIN: Jamestown High School’s Sam Grugel stretches to control the ball during Saturday’s match against Grand Forks Central. The Blue Jays have two important games this week, playing at Bismarck St. Mary’s on Thursday and Minot on Friday.1 / 2
INSET: Jamestown High School senior volleyball player Beka Hilgemann takes a swing during a match here last season. The Blue Jays host Bismarck Century in a big West Region showdown tonight at 7. 2 / 2

Frequent viewers of ESPN surely notice how the network likes to name things.

“Rivalry Week.” “Showdown Saturday.” “Big Monday.” “Bracketbusters Week.” “LOUD NOISES!” The last one is a rip-off from Ron Burgundy fame of course, but you get the point.

ESPN looks for ways to add significance to a series of games, or at least they try to fake you into believing they’re important.

This week, a number of Blue Jay and Jimmie teams have a series of big games. If I were to go all ESPN on it, it could be: “Early-Season Buzzsaw.”

Tonight at Jerry Meyer Arena, the Jamestown High School volleyball team hosts Bismarck Century in a rematch of last season’s state championship tilt in Minot.

The Blue Jays won that five-set thriller 3-2 for the program’s first ever state title. Tonight, the Patriots would have to be considered the favorites. They went 7-0 last weekend at the Bismarck/Century Invite and looked dominant at times.

However, the Blue Jays performed well against Century’s big boomers in a match here in July at the YMCA and in a scrimmage at the JHS gym Aug. 23.

Then on Friday and Saturday, the Blue Jays make their annual trek to Marshall, Minn., where the competition may even be stiffer. It’s “Meat-Grinder Week” for the Blue Jay netters.

Same is true for the Jimmie volleyball team, but they head into it with some momentum.

Last Saturday, the University of Jamestown beat sixth-ranked Grand View (Iowa) 3-1 on a neutral court. Wins like these build needed credibility for the Jimmies. With as weak as the North Star Athletic Association has been in volleyball, any and all out-of-conference wins are important.

The Jimmies play three more ranked teams this weekend. On Friday, they face No. 6 Northwestern (Iowa) on its home court. On Saturday, the 5-3 Jimmies play No. 13 Dordt (Iowa) and 16th-ranked MidAmerican Nazarene (Kan.).

Nobody can accuse UJ volleyball coach Jon Hegerle, or really any other head coach on campus, of ducking top opponents.

Same can be said of Jimmie football coach Shawn Frank. The Jimmies’ preseason schedule in recent seasons has been a gauntlet.

This year is really no different. After opening on the road against Valley City State last Thursday, the Jimmies host the Concordia Cobbers on Saturday at Rollie Greeno Field.

After the disappointing performance against the Vikings last week, the Jimmies need a good showing Saturday. It won’t be easy against the Cobbers, however. Concordia is always good and big and it returns one of the top quarterbacks in NCAA Division III football in senior Griffin Neal, a Fargo South product.

It’s also an important week for the soccer teams in town.

The Blue Jays have big road games at Bismarck St. Mary’s on Thursday and Minot on Friday. The final spot to go to state will almost certainly be between the Blue Jays and Saints. A road win for JHS Thursday would give them a leg up.

The Jimmie men’s and women’s soccer teams have yet to lose a match this fall. The men are 3-0 while the women are 1-0-1.

The Jimmie men have a big test here on Sunday against Rocky Mountain College, which was ranked 23rd in the preseason top 25 and went 14-4-1 last season.

The Jimmies play a spectator-friendly brand of soccer, so fire up the DVR on Sunday, tape the Vikings opener and make a doubleheader out of it: futbol at 1:30 and football at 3.

Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701)                    952-8460 or by e-mail at

Dave Selvig
Selvig has been a sports writer at The Sun since 1999 and sports editor since 2009.
(701) 952-8460