Jimmies men's volleyball hosting Ottawa in GPAC semifinals
The Jimmies and Braves have played two previous postseason matches against each other with the Jimmies winning both in a sweep.
JAMESTOWN – Exactly two weeks after the No.15-ranked University of Jamestown had to fight back from a two sets to one deficit to get a five-set win over Ottawa University, the two teams matchup again with a trip to the GPAC Championship Match on the line.
“Ottawa’s playing real well right now, everything’s kind of been going real well for them,” Jimmies head coach Travers Cox said. “But like I said, it’s ours to lose sort to speak if our guys came out and play to their potential, we’re really tough to beat.”
The Jimmies and the Braves are set to play at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, at Harold Newman Arena. On March 15, the Jimmies got a hard fought five set win over the Braves in the Jimmies home finale. In that match, the Jimmies had 27 errors with 16 of those coming in the first two sets.
“One of the things we need to be better at is reducing our unforced errors, matches at home, we start out pretty well in the first set, as you know, and then things fell apart on us the middle end of that first set and we didn’t get it back until into the third set,” Cox said. “Part of that was unforced errors and it wasn’t one particular thing, it was us making a lot of mistakes. So, that’s one of the things, we have to clean up the unforced errors, hopefully hit our serves really well like we did against Morningside and keep them out of system as much as possible.”
In the match, the Braves’ Akeil Williams had 16 kills and a kill percentage of .400. Cox said the key to limiting the impact that Williams can have on this match is to force him to stay in the back row and to play tight defense against him.
The Jimmies head in as the top seed in the GPAC conference tournament thanks to a 19-3 overall record and a 9-1 record in the GPAC. The Jimmies enter the game on a five-match winning streak. The Braves are currently 9-11, 4-6 in the GPAC and on a three-match winning streak.
“We watch a lot of film on Ottawa,” Jimmies senior Downey Huynh said. “They’re really big in the middle, a little smaller on the pins. Our gameplan was really focused on our serves, hit our targets and make sure we have marked their big hitters, especially their middles, making sure we’re getting a three-man block up on them.”
The Jimmies finished their regular season with a sweep over Morningside on March 18, to capture the GPAC Regular Season title.
“We played really well against Morningside, everything was clicking, it was a good match and the guys were happy to be home after that match,” Cox said.
Despite the lengthy break between matches, Huynh thinks it will help his team rather than hurt them.
“It’s good to relax and catch up on school work, a lot of times you spend too much time together with people you tend to lose patience,” Huynh said. “But this break was good for us, it let us reset and refocus on the season.”
The Braves had to play in the first round of the GPAC tournament and got a sweep over Kansas Wesleyan on March 25.
Cox said he is looking for big performances from Oguzhan Oguz, Huynh, Ever Cancel and Tysen Myers. In six of the Jimmies' 19 wins this season, Oguz and Huynh have been in the top two in kills. This season, Oguz leads the Jimmies in kills with 277. The Jimmies’ Derek Correa leads the team with 754 assists, 716 more than Adam Lopata in second on the team. The Jimmies' leader in aces is Oguz with 27.
“I think every game someone could pop off and lead the team and I think it just happens to be me, Oguzhan or Caylor (Cox) a lot of the time,” Huynh said. “For this game, I think we all need to show up and divvy up all the kills together.”