Jimmies preparing to face Vanguard, Grand View in NAIA tourney
The Jimmies are one win away from their best record in program history.
JAMESTOWN — After winning the GPAC Conference Title for the third year in a row, the University of Jamestown has made the NAIA Tournament as the No. 10-seed and will face reigning champions Grand View University (Iowa) and Vanguard University (Calif.) in Pool B in West Des Moines, Iowa.
“(My expectations are) to have a couple last matches with some of the guys that I’ve been here with for four years, the last three years, some of the guys I’ve made bonds with this year and to enjoy these last couple matches with them,” Jimmies senior Caylor Cox said. “I think that’ll be the expectation. I’m not going in with the expectation to win everything, I just want to go and have fun with my friends and my teammates.”
After winning the GPAC, @JamestownMVB are in pool B in the @NAIA tournament against Vanguard and Grand View pic.twitter.com/3iM3jNiLnd— Max O'Neill (@MaxONeill16) April 3, 2023
The Jimmies will start the tournament at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 11, when they face Vanguard. When the Jimmies take the court against the Lions they will be doing so against a familiar face as junior outside hitter Tanner Woods transferred from the Jimmies to the Lions after last season.
“Playing Vanguard and Tanner will be exciting,” Jimmies head coach Travers Cox said. “It will be fun to play Tanner because he’s a great kid. I’m sure he’ll be excited as well, it will be a fun matchup. So, I’m excited to see him as well, him and his family, I love his family, love him.”
Despite the team’s experience playing against Woods, Caylor said he doesn’t expect to give his team any advantages.
“I think it’d be like every other player,” Caylor said. “It’s been over a year since we’ve played. So he could’ve worked on weaknesses and strengths and changed and become a different dynamic player from what he already was. So, I don’t think there’s that same expectation necessarily.”
The Jimmies and Lions have played only one time before with the Jimmies getting a four-set win on March 10, 2020. The Jimmies and Vikings have played six times before with the Vikings owning a 6-0 record in the series, including a win over the Jimmies in the pool play round last year.
“Vanguard, they’ve been a top-five ranked team the entire season,” Jimmies senior Max Enriquez said. “We know they’re a big team and they’re gonna put up a pretty big fight but I think we’re pretty prepared for whatever comes at us. Grand View, obviously reigning champs, home court advantage, we’re gonna have to deal with their fans, great energy team. We’ll see, we’ll watch some film, we don’t know too much about them because they do have different players and lineups from last year. But we’ll watch some film and see what to prepare for but we’re excited.”
The Jimmies enter the tournament with a 21-3 overall record and they are 3-2 on a neutral floor but they are riding a seven-match winning streak. The Lions head in with a 16-5 overall record and a 1-1 record at a neutral site and they are on a one-match losing streak. The Vikings head into the tournament with a 19-8 overall record and they are on a one-match losing streak. The Jimmies are looking for their first tournament win in program history.
“It’s good to know what we have to prepare for now, not much of a mystery anymore, “ Enriquez said. “We can form a game plan and get ready for the tournament.”
Despite the fact that the Lions have to travel a significantly longer distance than the Jimmies, Travers said he doesn’t think it will make a difference.
As he and his team prepare to face the Lions and the Vikings, Travers said his team will be watching film on their opponents and having fun together.
“It’s time to have fun, we made it,” Travers said.