Jimmies top Comets in Hansen debut
Wednesday night's home opener for the Jamestown College volleyball team was a long time in the making for junior right-side hitter Heather Brown. The 6-foot Montpelier, N.D., native led the Rebels of Litchville-Marion-Montpelier to a fourth-place...
Wednesday night's home opener for the Jamestown College volleyball team was a long time in the making for junior right-side hitter Heather Brown.
The 6-foot Montpelier, N.D., native led the Rebels of Litchville-Marion-Montpelier to a fourth-place finish at the state Class B high school girls' volleyball tournament back in 2008, and after patiently waiting her turn on the sidelines for the Jimmies over the past two years it was finally Brown's turn to shine.
Brown racked up a team-leading 16 kills and five total blocks as the Jimmies rolled over the visiting Mayville State University Comets 26-24, 21-25, 25-23, 25-16 in front of a rousing Jimmie-friendly crowd inside the Hansen Center.
"I never really saw it coming," Brown said, of what can now only be considered as a leadership role with the team. "I worked really hard to get here and I finally am. It feels amazing."
Brown led a very balanced attack up front for the Jimmies, as four athletes hit double-digits in the kills department. Last year's mainstay, junior outside hitter Katie Zent slammed home 15 kills, while junior Emilee Schutta collected 13 and sophomore middle hitter Sarah Becker recorded 12.
"Heather Brown is showing her true capability and she just started to tap into that tonight," JC coach Jon Hegerle said. "She played with a lot of confidence and poise, and that helped take the pressure off of her teammates."
The Jimmies came into the Hansen Center after starting the season 8-5 in 13 matches played in four states. That overall mark is impressive, considering eight of those opponents were either ranked or were receiving votes in the NAIA Top 25.
To finally come home was something the team was definitely looking forward to, but showing their hometown fans what they could do also added pressure, which was evident in the early going.
Jimmie errors in the first two sets contributed to tight scoring in a 26-24 Jimmie win in set No. 1 and a 25-21 victory for the Comets in the second frame.
The largest advantage either team had in the first set was three points, which the Comets held twice at 5-2 and 21-18. But back-to-back blocks by Becker and Brown down the stretch, and a big blast by Brown for a kill to make the score 25-24 Jimmies, gave JC the momentum they needed to take it.
The Jimmies trailed by as many as four in the second set, even as Brown racked up 6 of her 16 kills, and errors eventually did in the Jimmies. Jamestown College finished the frame with back-to-back hitting errors, while set point came on a nice feed from Mayville State's Ariana Odegard to Nikki Roholt for the kill.
The Comets were led by Josette Glatt's 12 kills. Laura Kolness and Odegard combined for 51 assists for the Comets.
"Mayville State does a really nice job playing error free ... and we are the opposite," Hegerle said. "We have the ability to play at a high level, but we've been making too many errors. In the third and fourth games we started to make less errors and because of that we were able to get into a rhythm offensively."
A hitting error and a net violation put Jamestown College in a 3-0 hole to start the third game, but Zent and Schutta finished the game strong to help the Jimmies seal it. A pair of kills by JC junior Kaitlyn Rogalla made the score 18-16 Jimmies, while two kills each by Zent and Schutta kept the Comets trailing as the Jimmies rolled 25-23.
"I do know that was part of the reason we came out a little sluggish," said Hegerle, of finally playing a home match. "We wanted to perform well and it took us a couple of games to get into our comfort zone."
It was all Jamestown College in the fourth and final game. The Jimmies led by as many as six points early, and a block by Brown over the Comets' Maggie Maroney and a kill by Zent from JC setter Jada Meiklejohn produced the nine-point, 25-16, Jimmie victory.
Meiklejohn (36) and sophomore setter Kelsey Deragisch (27) combined for 63 assists.
"It was nice. We've played way too long on the road and it's nice to be home," Zent said. "We've got a lot of players that haven't played here before. We were a bit antsy and that showed during the match, but we were able to turn it around."
"We finally realized we were good enough to do this," Brown added. "We took a deep breath, like coach said, and one-by-one pulled it off."
The match was the first Dakota Athlete Conference meeting for both teams, and with the DAC dissolving after this season the Jimmies started their bid to be the conference's final champion. Jamestown College has won or shared the past three DAC titles.
The Comets and the Jimmies are also both ranked in the top five of the Association of Independent Institutions (AII) standings. Jamestown College entered the match ranked No. 2, while Mayville State is ranked No. 5.
"(The Comets) played scrappy. We knew they were not going to give us any points," Zent said. "They're much better than they have been in the past."
"Anytime you beat a team at the top good things will happen," Hegerle said.
The Jimmies will be back at the Hansen Center on Friday night hosting Black Hills State at 7 p.m.
Jamestown College 3, Mayville State University 1
Mayville State 24 25 23 16
Jamestown College 26 21 25 25
Jamestown College individual stats
Jada Meiklejohn: 1 kill, 36 assists, 5 digs.
Emilee Schutta: 13 kills, 1 ace, 6 digs.
Heather Brown: 16 kills, 3 digs, 5 blocks.
Katie Zent: 15 kills, 2 digs, 3 blocks.
Sarah Didychuk: 5 kills, 1 ace, 2 digs.
Kaitlyn Rogalla: 7 kills, 2 digs.
Katie Lee: 31 digs.
Beth Segerholm: 5 digs.
Alex Hanson: 2 kills, 1 assist, 1 ace, 3 digs, 1 block.
Kelsey Deragisch: 1 kill, 27 assists, 5 digs.
Mattie McDonald: 1 dig.
Sarah Becker: 12 kills, 3 digs, 4 blocks.
Keely Gross: 8 digs.
Mayville State University stat leaders
Kills: Josette Glatt 12, Abagail Anderson 9, Brittany Olson 8.
Assists: Laura Kolness 28, Ariana Odegard 23.
Digs: Betsy Smith 22, Odegard 9.
Aces: Emily Lijestrand 1, Maggie Maroney 1.
Records: Jamestown College 9-5, 1-0 DAC; Mayville State University 12-6, 0-1 DAC.
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org