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Jimmies looking to extinguish Flames, keep tourney run going

The Jimmies are trying to get back to the final four for the fourth consecutive season.

uj volleyball sherman vs dordt 17 110522.jpg
University of Jamestown's Logan Sherman (5) drives a kill shot past Avey Amelse of Dordt during the GPAC quarterfinal match on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2022, in Newman Arena.
John M. Steiner / The Jamestown Sun
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SIOUX CITY, IOWA — The No. 2-ranked University of Jamestown is heading into its final match of the 2022 NAIA Women’s volleyball tournament pool play looking to advance to the quarterfinals for the fourth consecutive year. The team standing in the Jimmies' way is a familiar foe in the No. 15-ranked College of Saint Mary at 10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 2.

“They’re a veteran team,” Jimmies head coach Jon Hegerle said. “They’re familiar with us, we played before. They’re a good team in the GPAC, and in the nation. They always serve well, they got strong defense and they’ve got some crafty front-row players.”

The Jimmies and Flames both play in the Great Plains Athletic Conference and have played six times since 2018 with the Jimmies owning a 6-0 record. The last time the two teams played was on Oct. 15 with the Jimmies fighting back after they lost two of the first three sets to win in five.

Hegerle said the keys for his team are to not give the Flames opportunities with errors and play well in all aspects of the game. He also said his team needs to get into a rhythm and force the Flames into errors while limiting their own mistakes.

“I always feel like a big part of what we do is if we can play free,” Hegerle said. “The times we can sometimes get into trouble is when we’re making our own errors. So, for us I think it’s really about managing our errors and just making smart choices, attacking wise. If we can serve tough, if we can pass well and defend well, we’re going to be tough to beat.”

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The Jimmies went 9-for-10 from the free throw line in the win.

The Jimmies’ Kalli Hegerle had 19 kills and 28 assists in that match, including three kills in the fifth set. She is making her third consecutive trip to Sioux City, after returning for her fifth season.

“I think there’s moments where we think about it as seniors,” she said. “Definitely some lasts, like our last practice at the Newman, our last time going to Sioux City, you think about that a little bit but I think our main focus is playing one game at a time and seeing where we can go. So, it’s sad but super fun at the same time.”

While the Jimmies have a day off between their win over Rocky Mountain College on Wednesday, Nov. 30, and the match against the Flames, the Flames do not as they play the Battlin’ Bears at 10 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 1.

“We’ll be there,” Jon Hegerle said. “We’ll be scouting, our team will be there watching. The more we watch a team, the easier it is for us to figure out some of their patterns and some of their systems, and some of their tendencies. So, we’ll watch some film tonight, and watch them tomorrow and practice tomorrow afternoon and maybe watch some more film, just trying to make sure we’re as familiar as possible with what they do.”

He said the team will also scout the Pool G teams — Missouri Baptist University, Viterbo University and Columbia College — as they look ahead to who they will face if they beat the Flames.

Despite the Flames' top two kills leaders having a combined 531 kills, with Lexie Langley having 268 and Makenna Freeman having 263, Kalli Hegerle said she and her teammates are more concerned with their team and not changing how they play.

The Jimmies head into this match after a sweep over the Battlin’ Bears on Thursday, Nov. 30, when they were led by Hegerle’s 15 kills. It was the first time in five postseason matches that Hegerle led the team in kills, with Anna Holen leading the team in the other four matches.

In the postseason this season, the Jimmies have 65 errors with 20 of them coming against the Battlin’ Bears. On the other side, the Flames have had 81 errors in their last three matches.

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“We have a lot of new faces on the court that didn’t play last year and I think some nerves were out there today and I think that’s fine, that’s expected, we all make mistakes,” Kalli Hegerle said. “But, I think cleaning up a little bit is going to be important, and letting them make the errors and mistakes and keeping it clean on our side will be important.”

Hello,
My name is Max O'Neill. I am a Sports Reporter at The Jamestown Sun. I am a native New Yorker, who graduated from Ithaca College in 2020 with a degree in Television-Radio.
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