Jimmies set to take on Ottawa with GPAC title on the line
The Jimmies are 17-0 all time at Harold Newman Arena.
For the second consecutive season, the University of Jamestown and Ottawa University will meet up in the GPAC Championship game.
The top-seeded Jimmies will host the No. 3-seeded Braves at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at Harold Newman Arena.
Despite the Jimmies (18-5, 10-0) coming off a sweep and the Braves (15-9, 7-3) having to fight in five sets, Jimmies head coach Travers Cox believes both teams having an equal amount of time off negates any advantage the Jimmies might have had from the comparatively easy win.
The two teams are very familiar with each other as the Jimmies own an 8-0 all time record against the Braves, and the Braves hired former Jimmies assistant Luke Pope to be their head coach ahead of the 2020-21 season. The Jimmies’ Samuel Jackman believes that the team's familiarity with each other gives the Jimmies an advantage.
“I think it benefits us more than it benefits them because even when Pope was here, he never really got to see each guy at their max potential,” Jackman said. “Where I think for us, it’s better because we’ve seen his strategy and his volleyball IQ and who he chooses to set and the type of offense he likes to run and which matchups he tends to call for late in a match. I think that benefits us quite a bit, especially at home we’re going to be able to audible to a lot of stuff that we’ve done, that we’ve repped out a million times versus for them they’re going to have to sit back and wait to see what we do.”
After winning six out of seven sets in the two matches that the Jimmies have played against the Braves this season, Jackman said the key is to overwhelm the opponents immediately in this game.
“I don’t think that the game plan that we have implemented too much will change but I think to the degree that we use it might change a bit,” Jackman said. “We’ve been, I wouldn’t say conservative but with recent injuries, guys being out for the season, we’ve hit them with a blitzkrieg method, where it’s overload. All of our ten get going, all of our hitters get going, because a lot of high level teams, some of them only rely on one or two big hitters, or whoever they have. We tend to find a lot of success when we get all six of our hitters going at once and we’re just going, going, going and they can’t really slow us down. So, I don’t think we’re going to change that too much but I think it will be a more aggressive approach to them versus a wait and see, I think we will come out of the gates firing.”
Cox said that one of the biggest things that his team has to do to fully get rolling is to have Derek Correa back to full force.
“With the changes that we made, some of it, yes, some things we gotta work on, having Correa back, our starting setter from last year, it’s great having him back,” Cox said. “We have to get a little bit more reps and touches, getting consistent on his locations and tempos and getting him comfortable with the low hitting as well and then he’ll be really solid.”
Defensively the Jimmies have been stepping up in the last two matches as they have held opponents to a hitting percentage of zero and 2.6 respectively, which Cox credits to the opposition.
“Sometimes it’s matchups, that’s where our blocking and defense come into play. We will do a video session tomorrow, we’ll prep a little bit,” Cox said. “They’ve got a really strong outside hitter in Ashan (Jordan), he’s really really good, hits the ball real hard, so he’s going to get a lot of sets. They’ve got a really good outside, I think his name is Brennan (Hager), so we are going to prepare for those two, they’ve got two pretty good middles, so we kind of watch video and look for tendencies and stuff and prepare for it.”