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Jimmies earn key win at nationals

Tuesday's win in Iowa meant a couple of things for the Jimmie volleyball team. First of all, the come-from-behind 3-2 victory over 14th-ranked Missouri Baptist has put the University of Jamestown in solid shape to advance as one of the final 16 t...

University of Jamestown players celebrate after scoring a point during Tuesday's NAIA national tournament match against Missouri Baptist in Sioux City, Iowa. Sean Johnson / For The Sun
University of Jamestown players celebrate after scoring a point during Tuesday's NAIA national tournament match against Missouri Baptist in Sioux City, Iowa. Sean Johnson / For The Sun

Tuesday's win in Iowa meant a couple of things for the Jimmie volleyball team.

First of all, the come-from-behind 3-2 victory over 14th-ranked Missouri Baptist has put the University of Jamestown in solid shape to advance as one of the final 16 teams at the NAIA national tournament. The Jimmies continue pool play today at 9 a.m. against No. 3 Hastings College (27-3) in Sioux City.

But secondly, it proved the national stage isn't too big for Jamestown. The Jimmies have never been deeper into the playoffs, as Tuesday's win was the first victory for the program at the national tournament's final site.

"I think the first step of moving into that next level is actually believing you belong there," University of Jamestown head coach Jon Hegerle said. "Today's win points us in that direction. We do belong here."

The Spartans (28-9) didn't hold back. Missouri Baptist pulled ahead 2-1 in the match after the Jimmies won the opener 26-24.

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But the strengths Jamestown has relied on all season sparked to life in time. The Jimmies recorded 31 total blocks and five Jamestown hitters posted 10 or more kills, which guided the comeback 25-22, 15-10.

Missouri Baptist lost to Columbia (Mo.) in last year's national tournament championship match to finish the year at 40-5.

"I didn't think we were as assertive at the net as we needed to be to begin with, especially blocking, but we addressed that, took control of the next two games and never relinquished the lead," Hegerle said. "We blocked well, but we also served tougher and passed better than they did and that made all the difference."

Haley Glasoe, the 6-foot junior from Wildrose, N.D., posted nine block assists for the Jimmies, and Carrington native Madison Wendel added six block assists and a solo block in the match. Jamestown is ranked in the top five nationally in both blocks per set and total blocks, led by Glasoe's growing single-season school record of 196.

Morgan Hensch (13 kills), Glasoe (11), Wendel (11), Kaitlin Anderson (10), Heather Bachman (10) and Siri Jystad (7) all sent attacks to the floor and all six players have over 200 kills on the season.

Jamestown senior setter Aubrey Beaumont and senior libero Nicole Warren also helped lead the comeback with 32 assists and 20 digs, respectively. Jamestown's defense limited the Spartans to just a single service ace.

"It's really awesome to start off with a big win like this," Beaumont said. "It lets us know what our potential is when we all play together. It's a big confidence booster heading into another really hard game (today) against another great team."

Missouri Baptist was led by Mallory Dillon with 20 kills and Megan Huffman with 51 assists. Julina Niemeier recorded two of Jamestown's five aces in the match.

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"It was a great team effort. I thought we really handled ourselves well and played at a high level consistently," Hegerle said. "But we're constantly trying to move that ceiling up higher and our goal is to get out of our pool and into the final 16 teams."

Jamestown (26-12) plays Union College (Ky.) at 9 a.m. on Thursday, regardless of today's outcome against Hastings College. Hastings routed Union (33-10) 25-13, 25-14, 25-15 in pool play on Tuesday.

The 16 team, single-elimination portion of the tournament begins Friday. The Elite 8 is held the same day.

"For us, we need to focus on playing strong as a team," Hegerle said. "We're a blue-collar team and our biggest thing is getting underneath the skin of our opponents to get them flustered and make them uncomfortable.

"(Today) we need to continue to do those things."

No. 19 University of Jamestown 3, No. 14 Missouri Baptist 2

Jamestown 26 23 22 25 15

Missouri 24 25 25 22 10

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JAMESTOWN-Kills: Morgan Hensch 13, Madison Wendel 11, Haley Glasoe 11, Kaitlin Anderson 10, Heather Bachman 10, Siri Jystad 7, Aubrey Beaumont 1. Assists: Beaumont 32, Josie Hegerle 19, Nicole Warren 2, Wendel 1, Jystad 1, Whitney King 1. Aces: Julina Niemeier 2, Beaumont 1, Warren 1, Kori Buchanan 1. Digs: Warren 20, Niemeier 11, Elise Peterson 8, Beaumont 6, Bachman 5, Hegerle 5, Anderson 3, Hensch 2, Wendel 1, Jystad 1, Buchanan 1, King 1. Blocks: Glasoe 9, Wendel 7, Anderson 5, Bachman 5, Hensch 3, Jystad 2.

MISSOURI-Kills: Mallory Dillon 20, Marion Couraud 18, Kristina Medanovic 15, Caterina Cigarini 12, Kelly Wilson 4, Marija Tosic 3, Natalie Gremaud 1, Darby Santos 1. Assists: Megan Huffman 51, Gremaud 6, Santos 6, Dillon 1. Aces: Couraud 1. Digs: Dillon 15, Catie Ward 15, Gremaud 15, Couraud 12, Huffman 9, Medanovic 5, Tosic 3, Santos 3, Cigarini 2, Mary Krause 1, Kamden Maas 1. Blocks: Cigarini 4, Dillon 4, Couraud 2, Medanovic 2, Huffman 1.

RECORDS: University of Jamestown 26-12; Missouri Baptist 28-9.

Related Topics: VOLLEYBALL
Savaloja is the sports lead writer for The Jamestown Sun.
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