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Jimmies sweep Blue Hawks

Keep fighting and put the national attention on the backburner. That's the plan for the University of Jamestown volleyball team. The Jimmies moved up two spots from No. 24 to No. 22 in the nation this week in the NAIA coaches poll, but the team's...

Jamestown’s Naomi Walther (11) and Kaitlyn Bollingberg defend Dickinson State’s Miranda Kadrmas on Tuesday at the Hansen Center.
Jamestown’s Naomi Walther (11) and Kaitlyn Bollingberg defend Dickinson State’s Miranda Kadrmas on Tuesday at the Hansen Center.

Keep fighting and put the national attention on the backburner.

That's the plan for the University of Jamestown volleyball team. The Jimmies moved up two spots from No. 24 to No. 22 in the nation this week in the NAIA coaches poll, but the team's attention is focused squarely on the tasks immediately in front of them.

"It's exciting, but we've got a lot of work to do still," Jimmie defensive specialist Amanda Kramer said.

The senior from Roseville, Minnesota turned up a team-leading 25 digs in the back row at the Hansen Center on Tuesday night, helping the University of Jamestown to its eighth straight win with a 3-0 sweep over the visiting Dickinson State University Blue Hawks.

This is the first season the Jimmies (13-4) have ever been ranked inside the top 25, meaning every step up is a new first for the orange and black.

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"It's new for us, but we really don't dwell on it. We take it as now we've got to fight for it," Kramer said. "We fought to get there, and now it's just fighting even harder to keep it."

The Blue Hawks (1-16) entered the match having just won their first match of the season on Saturday, and the visitors kept things interesting at the start. Dickinson State built up an 18-16 lead in the first set before Jimmie head coach Jon Hegerle called a timeout to rally the troops.

"It's at the point of the season where we've got some nagging injuries and it's just tough to keep focused," Hegerle said. "I think it didn't help that we went up 6-1. We just kind of relaxed and thought, 'Oh, this is going to be easy.'"

The Jimmies rallied for four straight points, and hitters Alaina Brown and Naomi Walther each posted an ace and a kill late to help the Jimmies to a 25-21 victory. Walther and Janna Johnson led the Jimmies in the match with nine and eight kills, respectively.

"It was all about confidence and just getting comfortable," Kramer said. "Right now we just have to work on getting comfortable on the court faster."

Right-side hitter Heather Bachman was the sparkplug for the Jimmies in the second game. The 6-foot-3 sophomore slammed down a pair of kills and notched a pair of blocks that went down for Jimmie points during an 8-0 run by the Jimmies

The home team led 11-5 five at that point and coasted 25-16. Bachman posted six kills and two blocks in the match.

"I thought there were five balls we should have easily blocked in set one that we didn't even touch," Hegerle said. "So I challenged them, especially our right sides Janna Johnson and Heather Bachman, to see what the hitters are doing and jump in front of them.

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"Heather got a couple of blocks and a couple of swings and that got her going. Blocking can be a real confidence booster and I thought that really turned some things around."

The Blue Hawks didn't do themselves any favors in the final set. A total of five hitting errors and a service error by Dickinson State helped the Jimmies jump out 14-4, and they'd set the cruise en route to winning 25-12.

The No. 22-ranked Jimmies remain unbeaten in the North Star Athletic Association (5-0) and have over a week to prepare for back-to-back conference matches on the road.

"If getting to the national championship is where we want to get - that's like the top of Mt. Everest - we're just at base camp two right now," Hegerle said. "We do have a chance right now to get a little bit healthier and get a mental break. We did that at the beginning of September and I thought it really helped.

"So that's our goal. Come at it hard next week and make the next stretch."

The Jimmies travel to face Valley City State on Oct. 10 and Mayville State on Oct. 11.

"We have a lot of work to do, but we've got a whole week to do it," Kramer said. "I know coach will get after us."

University of Jamestown 3, Dickinson State University 0

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Blue Hawks 21 16 12

Jimmies 25 25 25

University of Jamestown statistics

Aubrey Beaumont: 2 kills, 15 assists, 3 digs.

Alaina Brown: 5 kills, 1 assist, 2 aces, 6 digs.

Kaitlin Anderson: 4 kills, 2 digs, 3 blocks.

Janna Johnson: 8 kills, 1 dig, 2 blocks.

Elise Peterson: 1 assist, 12 digs.

Naomi Walther: 9 kills, 1 ace, 2 digs, 4 blocks.

Amanda Kramer: 1 ace, 25 digs.

Kaia Buck: 1 kill, 16 assists, 4 digs.

Courtney Suppa: 1 kill, 1 block.

Siri Jystad: 2 kills, 1 assist, 1 dig.

Madison Wendel: 2 kills, 2 digs.

McKenzie Kiefer: 2 assists, 2 digs.

Nicole Warren: 2 digs.

Kaitlyn Bollingberg: 1 kill, 1 dig.

Heather Bachman: 6 kills, 2 digs, 2 blocks.

Records: University of Jamestown 13-4, 5-0 NSAA; Dickinson State 1-16, 1-5 NSAA

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