No. 2-ranked Jimmies sweep St. Ambrose in NAIA tourney opener
The Jimmies forced the Fighting Bees into 23 errors in the win.
JAMESTOWN — The No.2-ranked University of Jamestown’s string of seven consecutive NAIA tournament opening-round wins has moved to eight with a sweep over St.Ambrose University (25-17, 25-9, 25-12) on Saturday, Nov. 19, at Harold Newman Arena.
The Jimmies showed off their depth in the win, with seven different players getting at least one kill. One of those was sophomore Aleah Zieske who had eight kills, which is the 18th time with eight kills or more in a match this season.
Zieske said her game plan was centered around sending the seniors out with a home win.
“Just stay focused the whole time, have a lot of fun, support the seniors along the way obviously since it was their last home game,” Zieske said.
The win sees the Jimmies improve to 15-0 this season against unranked opponents.
“Tonight it certainly was a trip to Sioux City,” Jimmies head coach Jon Hegerle said. “We knew it was do or die, and it was sudden death as a good friend of mine used to say and the death was sudden if we were dropping. I think we had some motivation and plus it was our senior’s last time to play here in the Newman so I think they were pretty fired up.”
Despite runs from both teams in the first set, the Jimmies (32-2) looked to be pulling away at 16-11. However, the Fighting Bees (24-10) responded with a run to cut it to 17-15, they thought they brought it back to within one at 17-16 but after a discussion between the referees, it was judged that the Fighting Bees player hit the net giving the point to the Jimmies, making it 18-15. From there, the Jimmies went on a 7-2 run to win the first set 25-17.
“We saw her in the net and the down ref just didn’t see it,” Hegerle said. “It was fortunate the up ref called him over and they discussed it. They knew it on their side, you could see there wasn’t any complaints on that. You never know with a call if it could start a run or stop a run or how important that is.”
In the entirety of the second set, the Fighting Bees were unable to get any run going failing to string together two points in a row. While the Jimmies opened the set up 7-2 and went on a 10-5 run to make it 17-7, drawing visible frustration from the Fighting Bees. The Jimmies ended the set on a 6-1 run, punctuated by a kill from Lexi Olson to get a 25-9 second set win.
“I felt like they were starting to get in their heads and we were getting under their skin so that helped us stay on top and stay focused,” Zieske said.
In the first two sets, the Fighting Bees had 18 attack errors, compared to seven for the Jimmies.
The Jimmies got out to a 16-7 third-set lead, drawing a Fighting Bees timeout. Out of the stoppage, the Jimmies were able to keep the momentum going finishing the set on a 9-5 run to win the set 25-17, with the final kill coming from Anna Holen as she smashed one just out of the reach of the Fighting Bees’ Maicee Pierce.
The Jimmies now wait to see who they will face in the first match of pool play on Wednesday, Nov. 30, in Sioux City, Iowa.
SAU 0, UJ 3
SAU: 17 10 12–0
UJ: 25 25 25–3
SAU: Jill Kavalauskas 7, Mackenzie Grafton 5, Alexandria Horne 5
UJ: Anna Holen 12, Lexi Olson 8, Aleah Zieske 8
SAU: Macy Watkins 9, Hannah Sondag 8, Grafton 2
UJ: Kalli Hegerle 19, Paige Oswald 13, Logan Sherman 1, Ellie Holen 1, Megan Moser 1
SAU: Grafton 1
UJ: Hegerle 3, E. Holen 3, A. Holen 2