Jimmies sweep Comets, push streak to 13 straight
Two days removed from being named attacker of the week in the Great Plains Athletic Conference, Kalli Hegerle was back terrorizing defenders from the right side of the court on Thursday.
Having firmly cemented her home with one of the NAIA's top programs through 13 matches, the former Division I setter and current University of Jamestown hitter is enjoying every minute of the Jimmies' perfect start.
"It's pretty fun," Hegerle smiled.
The junior transfer hit .333 and sent nine kills to the floor in a 3-0 sweep of North Star Athletic Association leader Mayville State University at Harold Newman Arena. The performance is turning into the norm for Hegerle after hitting .397 with 28 eight kills in wins at both Hastings College and Doane University last week, as the 13-0 Jimmies led the nation in kills per set (14.6) entering Thursday's match.
Six Jimmies, including Hegerle, had three or more kills in UJ's 25-18 set 1 victory. Junior Anna Holen wound up adding to her team lead in kills with a match-high 14 and is up to 143 total.
Middles Jayla Ritter and Corina Huff matched Hegerle's nine spikes, Nicole Schmitz eight; Taylor Sabinash seven. It's difficult to keep count of all the ways the Jimmies can hurt teams.
"We want everyone in our program to succeed, not just one person," Hegerle said. "We don't focus on ourselves, we focus on each other.
"Our culture is based on loving each other, and I think that's why we do so well."
Mayville State (13-3) hadn't lost in 10 straight matches, but also hadn't played in 10 days. The Comets' defensive specialist Mason Hart (397 digs) and middles Victoria Johnson (242 kills) and Ashley Pyburn (59 blocks) are statistically some of the NAIA's top performers heading into November.
Johnson led the Comets with seven kills and Hart turned up 16 digs, but the Jimmies rolled 25-12, 25-17.
"They just are a team that doesn't make a lot of consecutive mistakes," said Mayville State coach Lindsey Johnson. "That's hard trying to get momentum and you have to earn every single point.
"I felt like if we could establish the block and defend we were gonna be able to hang around. But we can't hang our heads about losing to a team this talented."
The Comets led the first set 8-6 before the Jimmies took flight. UJ added deep serving to its attacking repertoire to help keep the Comets off balance.
"I thought we were just trying to figure out who they were for about half of the first set and then we just kinda took off after that," said UJ head coach Jon Hegerle. "When we get into our rhythm, it's tough to get us out of that."
UJ setters Jackie Meiklejohn and Megan Gaffaney each topped 20 assists in the match. Finding weapons wasn't too difficult.
"Our setters do a great job of mixing up it," Kalli Hegerle said. "(Opponents) don't know if it's going to go out, back, to the middle (and) our middles have been doing a great job of holding the blockers, so it's easy for us to get one-on-ones and get a kill.
"It's just everyone doing their part."
The Jimmies touched off a busy nine days of volleyball. UJ will play four GPAC matches by next Friday (Nov. 6), beginning by hosting Mount Marty this Saturday at 5 p.m.
"I think we're healthier than we've been, and I feel like our players feel they're in better shape and some injuries have kinda resolved themselves," coach Hegerle said. "I think we're ready."
University of Jamestown 3, Mayville State University 0
MS 18 12 17
UJ 25 25 25
MS -- Kills: Victoria Johnson 7, Ashley Pyburn 5, Elora Passa 4, Lily Pyle 3, Kaitlin Leier, Natalie Hadrava. Assists: Passa 10, Rachel Hill 7. Aces: Mason Hart. Digs: Hart 16, Amy Seim 14, Passa 8, Pyle 5. Blocks: Jonson 2.5, Passa 1.5.
UJ -- Kills: Anna Holen 14, Kalli Hegerle 9, Jayla Ritter 9, Corina Huff 9, Nicole Schmitz 8, Taylor Sabinash 7. Assists: Jackie Meiklejohn 28, Megan Gaffaney 21, Sydney Ellingson 4, Hannah Schiele. Aces: Holen 2. Digs: Holen 20, Sydney Ellingson 17, Gaffaney 13, Schiele 8, Ellie Holen 7, Meiklejohn 6, Hegerle 4, Sabinash 3, Huff 2, Ritter. Blocks: Huff 2, Sabinash 1.5, Hegerle 1, Ritter 1, Schmitz 1, A. Holen 0.5.
Records: Jamestown 13-0. Mayville State 13-3.