Jimmies sweep undermanned Morningside in GPAC tourney semifinals
The Jimmies forced the Mustangs into 21 errors in this match.
After a stretch of 11 games in 11 days, the University of Jamestown had 16 days off before they welcomed in the No. 4 seeded Morningside Mustangs for the GPAC conference semifinals. After the two teams battled through the first set, the top seeded Jimmies took control and swept the Mustangs, 25-21, 25-14, 25-14, on Wednesday, March 30, at Harold Newman Arena.
The Jimmies' Derek Correa said that he and his teammates were not satisfied with this win.
“The jobs not done yet,” Correa said. “We have Saturday, we got nationals yet. This is just the beginning, we are just starting, our first game here, we’re just starting.”
One of the advantages that the Jimmies had in this match was the ability to go down their bench, as the Jimmies played 12 players, and the Mustangs only had their six starters available. Jimmies head coach Travers Cox said that he felt the difference in depth was a big factor in his team’s win.
“It’s huge, like (Mustangs head coach) Addison (Mertler) and I were talking, when I got guys that can go two, three, even four deep and he’s playing six guys and they are playing their hearts out doing the best they can, it makes a big difference,” Cox said. “You can only battle so long before you keep running into the same players, same tempo, it gets tough.”
In the first set, the teams traded runs, with there being 10 ties, and the largest lead being the No. 7 Jimmies (18-5, 11-0) going up 9-5 on a kill from Samuel Jackman. The Mustangs (7-18, 4-7) would respond with a 4-0 run to tie the first set up at nine thanks to a block from Jacob Baynes. After the first set was tied at 15, the Jimmies would end the set on a 10-6 run to win 25-21.
The Jimmies opened the second set on a 10-5 run and never let the Mustangs back into it. The closest that the Mustangs got in the second set was 14-7, before the Jimmies stretched the lead back out on an attack error and then a kill from Jackman which made it 16-7. In that second set, the Mustangs scored 10 of their 14 points on Jimmies errors.
Correa said that his team’s ability to open up the second set as well as they did was down to a multitude of factors.
“The energy, the joy, the hype from the fans, the bench; everybody played a part,” Correa said.
After starting the third set off well going up 7-4, the Mustangs struggled to keep pace, giving up a 10-1 run, allowing the Jimmies to take a 14-8 lead. The Jimmies continued to stretch their lead out as Zack Meyer poked a ball over the net to push his team’s lead out to 19-11 in the third set. The Jimmies’ Ever Cancel booked his team’s spot in the conference championship game with a kill to give his team a 25-14 third set match win.
This game also served as the return of both Correa and Derek Owens, with Owens expressing his excitement to return postgame.
“It felt great. I’ve been working at it for a while, missing a month was hard but the guys have been really supportive, help me come back, the coaches have helped me the whole way,” Owens said. “I felt great, surprisingly good, Correa coming back helped because we’ve had two years of connection work, me and him just found it right away.”
The Jimmies return to the court at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 2, when they host No. 3-seeded Ottawa University in the GPAC Championship game.
MU 0, UJ 3
MU: 21 14 14—0
UJ: 25 25 25—3
MU: Isaiah Baynes 9, Erik Krenz 6, Dylan Hamil 3, Jacob Baynes 2, Jacob DePauw 1
UJ: Samuel Jackman 13, Tanner Woods 7, Caylor Cox 7, Korben Phillips 5, Derek Owens 4, Zack Meyer 3, Austin Jacob 1, Ever Cancel 1, Derek Correa 1
MU: DePauw 18
UJ: Correa 26, Jacob 6, Cox 2, Neumann 2
UJ: Neumann 3, Woods 1