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One more: Jimmies set to end regular season Tuesday

The University of Jamestown women's volleyball team will wrap up its regular season on Nov. 2.

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Jayla Ritter took all of two seconds to consider if she felt any pressure to defend the University of Jamestown women's volleyball team's perfect regular-season record.

"Absolutely not," Ritter said. "A lot of us came back for an extra year and we are all super hungry to just dominate the entire season. I am excited to just keep steamrolling and powering through. We're ready to dominate."

The Jimmies, under the direction of 13-year head coach Jon Hegerle, have rattled off 27 straight wins this fall and are just one win away from entering the Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament undefeated. The team's final test is slated to come against Dakota Wesleyan on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at UJ's Newman Arena.

UJ's last loss to the Tigers came on Aug. 25, 2005. Since that fateful day 16 years ago, in Mitchell, South Dakota, the Jimmies have rifled off 14 straight wins. UJ most recently knocked off the Tigers 25-19, 26-24, 25-23 on Oct. 8. Dakota Wesleyan is currently ranked 15th in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) standings. UJ has reclaimed the No. 1 seed this season.

"It's really hard to play at the high level that we want and expect each game," Huff said. "That's grown a lot of mental toughness in our team throughout this whole season. I think that is going to prepare us for nationals and I think everyone is completely bought in."

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Hegerle and his squad locked up the GPAC regular-season championship on Saturday with a 3-1 win over the College of Saint Mary. Over the past four seasons, the Jimmies have garnered a 114-17 record, two regular-season GPAC championships, two GPAC tournament championships and two appearances in the NAIA Tournament semifinals.

The Jimmies have been to the NAIA tournament every year since 2016. Hegerle has the highest win percentage of any Jimmie volleyball coach at 72.6.

Hegerle's squad has made 3,145 total attacks -- 1,297 of which ended up as kills. The Jimmies have been hitting at .302, with an average of 14.91 kills per set. Of the more than 3,000 attacks, the Jimmies have only recorded 346 errors. UJ has only calculated 54 ball-handling errors. The Jimmies have also recorded 159 service errors.

The Jimmies have dug up 1,673 balls and passed out 1,178 assists. From the back line, the Jimmies have served up 139 aces. On the defensive end, at the net, the Jimmies recorded 233 total blocks.

"We're hungry," Huff said. "We just have confidence in what we want to do and we want to win a championship this year no doubt. We know that we can overcome anything and I think being confident in that has been huge for us this year."

Of the Jimmies' 27 wins, only four matches went to four sets. The four dropped sets came against Dordt University, Midland University and College of Saint Mary. The Jimmies only five-set test came against 14th ranked Northwestern College on Sept. 10.

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"I don't think there's a lot of pressure headed into the postseason," Hegerle said. "The only pressure would be about the things you can learn from losing. There are some things we haven't learned because we haven't lost. This team is veteran -- they've lost some tough matches in their lives and they are ready to go."

Ritter has only played 81 sets this season but still has recorded 20 more kills than she did across last season's 107 sets. Fifth-year senior Corina Huff has posted 188 kills and is hitting at a career-high of .440. Freshman Aleah Zieske has managed 163 kills.

Dakota Wesleyan has notched 1,372 kills so far this season. On defense, the Tigers have made 1,836 digs and have made 45 solo blocks. The Tigers are 22-7 overall and are 10-5 in the GPAC.

"We're really excited for the postseason but we have to take care of business on Tuesday," Hegerle said.

Katie Ringer is a sports reporter for the Jamestown Sun. Katie joined the Sun staff in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She can be reached by email at kringer@jamestownsun.com or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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