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Jimmie volleyball heading to nationals

University of Jamestown's Haley Glasoe (13) and Jessica Velander (3) put up the block against Mayville State on senior night at Harold Newman Arena on Nov. 4. John M. Steiner / The Sun

University of Jamestown volleyball demonstrated the respect it's earned over the past few seasons Monday.

The Jimmies are headed straight to Sioux City, Iowa, later this month, receiving an at-large bid into the NAIA volleyball national championship tournament after stumbling to Bellevue (Neb.) in the semifinals of the North Star Athletic Association conference tournament Friday in La Crosse, Wisc.

The 21st-ranked Bruins topped the 19th-ranked Jimmies 3-2, but Jamestown (21-8) is headed directly to national pool play for a second straight season.

"You just never know," Jimmie volleyball coach Jon Hegerle said. "You have no control over what other people are thinking and how they are voting.

"You prepare for the worst and hope for the best and things worked out."

The top 19 seeds and host team Morningside (Iowa) all advance directly to the final site in Sioux City for pool play on Nov. 28-30. The tournament's remaining 12 teams will need to win national tournament opening-round matches at campus sites this Saturday.

The top two teams from eight, four-team pools will advance to the final 16-team elimination tournament starting Dec. 1 and culminating with a national champion Dec. 2. All final-site matches will be played at Sioux City's Tyson Events Center.

"Obviously we are thrilled that we are going straight to Sioux City and don't have to host a first-round match and that kind of stuff," Hegerle said. "The team is pretty excited."

The Jimmies went 1-2 in national tournament pool play last season after advancing straight to Sioux City. Jamestown went 0-3 in pool play in 2014, after hosting a national tournament opening-round match at Jamestown High School and defeating Kansas Wesleyan 3-1.

Jamestown will know its pool-play opponents Sunday, following Saturday's opening-round matches.

"There's some things we need to work on and get better at," Hegerle said. "Certainly one of the things in our minds is trying to get out of our pool and make the final 16 teams."

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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