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Jimmies women's volleyball win the GPAC with a sweep over Concordia

The Jimmies have won three consecutive conference titles for the first time since 2008-10.

For the third consecutive season, the University of Jamestown women’s volleyball team are GPAC champions. The Jimmies(31-0, 16-0) swept Concordia University (Neb.), (16-11, 9-7) in straight sets to capture the conference crown in front of a packed Harold Newman Arena.

With the crowd assembled at Newman Arena on their feet, the Jimmies’s Jackie Meiklejohn took a deep breath and had nerves of steel as she fired a laser over the net that went off a player and out of play, securing the first Jimmies volleyball conference three-peat since 2008-10.

The Jimmies were ecstatic to win three conference tournaments in a row.

“It’s almost like we’re starting a tradition now,” Jimmies right side hitter Kalli Hegerle said. “It’s awesome and amazing and it never gets old.”

Meiklejohn served to start the first set and it was spiked down by Anna Holen giving the Jimmies the 1-0 lead. After an Anna Holen ace stretched the Jimmies lead to 6-1, the Bulldogs called their first timeout. The 5-0 run was ended when the Bulldogs' Camryn Opfer spiked a ball down that couldn't be handled by Holen. Aleah Zieske rose up and slammed it down with authority to put the Jimmies up 10-4 in the first set. The Bulldogs managed to fight back with a run of their own to make the set 10-8, thanks to a block from Opfer and Kalee Wiltfong. The Bulldogs tied it up off an attack error from Kalli Hegerle making the first set 13-13. The Bulldogs fought back with a kill by Opfer to make the first set 23-21, drawing a timeout from the Jimmies. Out of the timeout, Zieske rose up and blocked a shot down to give the Jimmies the 25-21 first set win.

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Despite an incredible hustle play from the Bulldogs' Rebecca Gebhardt the ball was hit into the net making it 4-2 in favor of the Bulldogs in the second set. The Jimmies battled back in the set to tie the game up thanks to a kill from Taylor Sabinash off the fingertips of a Bulldog. The Jimmies responded by taking their first lead of the second set thanks to a kill from Huff, making it 7-6, eliciting a “Let's go Jimmies” chant from the students assembled in the student section. Sabinash smashed one down to the floor to give the Jimmies a 14-10 lead in the second set. Despite the Bulldogs' best efforts to get back in the set, making it as close as 22-18, Holen rose up and tried to put a hole in the floor giving the Jimmies the 25-17 second set win.

Jimmies head coach Jon Hegerle’s message to his team between the second and third sets was to just continue the team’s momentum.

“Let’s stay hungry. Let’s continue to put pressure on them from the service line,” Hegerle said. “We talked a couple strategy things but the biggest thing, I said guys, let's just keep building our mojo. That’s our number one thing during a match, building our mojo.”

The Bulldogs took their biggest lead of the third set 7-5 off an attack error by the Jimmies but the lead was quickly erased thanks to a block at the net fromCorina Huff to make it 7-7. Kalli Hegerle lifted off the ground and spiked the ball down to give the Jimmies the 16-10 lead in the third set, drawing a Bulldogs timeout. The run was ended by a deflection at the net to make the third set 18-12 in favor of the Jimmies followed by an attack error from Ziezke to make it 18-13. The Bulldogs attempted to claw back with a kill from Rodaway making it 22-17.

During the third set on multiple occasions, the students were launching into “MVP” chants for Anna Holen.

“I was trying to block it out because we hadn’t even won yet,” Holen said with a chuckle.

The Jimmies now have to wait until 10 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 15 to see who they will be hosting in the NAIA tournament.

CUNE 0, UJ 3

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CUNE: 21 17 17--0

UJ: 25 25 25--3

Kills leaders:

CUNE: Erica Heinzerling 11, Camryn Opfer 10, Carly Rodaway 7

UJ: Anna Holen 13, Corina Huff 8, Aleah Zieske 8

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