Jimmies hold tough in NAIA pool play sweep over Aquinas
This season, the Jimmies are now 18-2 when winning the first set.
Despite being pushed in the last two sets, the No. 5-ranked University of Jamestown was able to sweep No. 11-ranked Aquinas College, 25-17, 25-23, 25-20, in the NAIA tournament pool play round on Wednesday, April 13. The Jimmies are now 2-1 in pool play matches all time.
The first set was tight with the teams tied 9-9 early on. The No. 8-seeded Jimmies (20-5) took an early 11-9 after that thanks to back-to-back Saints errors. From that point on, the Jimmies went on a 14-8 run, punctuated by a Tanner Woods kill to win the first set 25-17.
Woods said that his team's ability to go on that first set run was as a result of them settling into the match.
"Getting used to the gym and just getting the pregame jitters out was key for us," Woods said. "After that we started rolling and just kept the pressure on them. Serving and passing is key for us to win matches and we passed very well in the first set."
After the Jimmies started the second set on fire, taking a 17-10 lead, the No. 9-seeded Saints (21-9) called a timeout to regroup. Out of the timeout, the Saints’ Joshua Boothroyd got a kill to cut the deficit to 17-11. That started a Saints run that saw them cut the deficit to as close as 24-23. The Jimmies managed to survive though, getting a kill from Korben Phillips to get the 25-23 second set win.
Jimmies head coach Travers Cox said that the Saints were able to fight back because of a mix of Jimmies bad luck and their big shots.
“They won a couple rallies on us,” Cox said. “They were hitting their serves a little bit better, they got on their serves a little bit better. We had some hits, where guys made good swings that were just out of bounds. You know how that goes, balls just fell their way a little bit. A couple of our mistakes on good plays, that turned out bad, and they had some really good plays themselves, so that was the big difference. We had some really good swings they were just out of bounds.”
After losing the first two sets, the Saints were fighting for their season in the third set and it showed, as they sprinted out to a 9-5 lead, on an attack error from the Jimmies’ Samuel Jackman. The Jimmies responded with a 5-1 run to tie the third set up at 10. Despite the Saints pushing late, and cutting the deficit to 20-17, the Jimmies were able to put the third set away thanks to a net front kill from Woods to give the Jimmies the 25-20, third set, match win.
The Jimmies' Derek Owens said that his team's fight in the third set was down to them picking the pace back up.
"We just got some energy back, cleaned up our game, limit our errors," Owens said. "I think we were a better team than them so as long as we didn't make errors we were going to win that game."
The Jimmies return to the court at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, for a winner take all match against Grand View.
Cox said that the fact that his team had to fight in this match will help them out, heading into the second game of pool play against the Vikings.
“I honestly believe that it will. I think the guys in a sense, got their feet wet a little bit,” Cox said. “They got to play on that court, get used to the two different sides of the court, with the windows on one side and the flags and the lighting on the other, used to the court a little bit. Tomorrow will be the biggest match of the year, it’s win or go home tomorrow.”
AC 0, UJ 3
AC: 17 23 20–0
UJ: 25 25 25–-3
AC: Julian Armendano 9, Joshua Boothroyd 7, Daniel De La Rosa 5
UJ: Tanner Woods 15, Derek Owens 8, Samuel Jackman 7
AC: Matthew Richmond 24, Daniel Soliz 1
UJ: Derek Correa 28, Braden Neumann 2, Caylor Cox 2
AC: Richmond 1, Kelsey Yogi 1
UJ: Korben Philips 2, Woods 1, Cox 1