Sabinash smashes: Jimmies defeat Briar Cliff on the road
Paint may have come clean off the floor the way Taylor Sabinash was hitting the ball Friday evening.
"I just like to hit the ball hard," Sabinash said with a laugh.
Sabinash, a junior for the University of Jamestown women's volleyball team helped her team get back to what they do best -- winning.
The Jimmies wrapped up back-to-back road games with a 3-1 win over Briar Cliff University to improve to 16-1 overall and 14-1 in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). Northwestern College dealt the Jimmies their first loss of the season Thursday, rolling to a 3-1 victory over the black and orange.
The junior right side out of Pingree was well on her way to 20 balls smashed but reigned in her arm at a modest team-high of 15. Sabinash, a non-starter for the Jimmies, hit over .500 at the net tallying only three errors in her 23 attack attempts. The second-year varsity team member has recorded 124 official kills in her 16 matches played.
"I thought Megan Gaffaney set her really well," Hegerle said. "She did a nice job of doing what Taylor does -- getting up and smashing balls. She gave our team a lot of energy and that was fun to see."
Sabinash starts on the right beginning in the fourth rotation behind recent North Dakota State University transfer, Kalli Hegerle. Because of the timing, Sabinash is often not in the set for as long as some others in the Jimmies' front row which is probably best for competitors' defenses.
"She's performing at a really high level and I thought Gaffaney did a nice job tonight just knowing that Taylor was in her groove so she just kept setting her."
Gaffaney sent the ball to the front row 21 times.
"A lot of people just accredit the hitters but the ball definitely goes through a long line of connection," Sabinash said. "It was a little bit of a struggle at first but ... once we started having a lot of fun with each other that's when we felt the most comfortable and we just started firing off on all cylinders."
Set No. 1 was a back and forth battle between the Jimmies and Chargers, each within just a couple of points all set long. UJ trailed 22-19 but scored four points to make it 23-22. The Chargers would go on to tie the game and then took advantage of two Jimmie attack errors that sealed the deal for the Chargers.
In the second, UJ took a mid-set lead of 14-8 and kept the Chargers down by at least five. The Jimmies needed just four more points to end it, but Briar Cliff came back from the 21-14 deficit to make it 21-20. Back-to-back kills from Corina Huff and Nicole Schmitz combined with a couple of errors by the Chargers tied the match at one set apiece.
"I thought we battled more today," Hegerle said. "There were times they put pressure on us and got some energy and I thought we did a nice job responding for the most part today."
UJ had a nine-point lead over Briar Cliff in the third. The Chargers pulled within four before a service error ended the streak and the Jimmies scored six to take the set. The Jimmies didn't let the Chargers come within eight in the fourth and ended it 25-15.
The loss concluded Briar Cliff's regular season while the Jimmies have two more regular-season games scheduled for next week. UJ will face Morningside College on Friday at 6 p.m. and Northwestern on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. Both games are slated to be held at Harold Newman Arena.
"I think the key to those matches will be to find our rhythm and trust each other a lot and stick with those connections," Sabinash said.
University of Jamestown 3, Briar Cliff University 1
UJ 23 25 25 25
BC 25 21 17 15
UJ -- Kills: Sabinash 15, Nicole Schmitz 10, Kalli Hegerle 10, Corina Huff 9, Anna Holen 6, Jayla Ritter 5. Assists: Jackie Meiklejohn 27, Gaffaney 21. Digs: Sydney Ellingson 26, Holen 16, Hannah Schiele 14, Gaffaney 8, Meiklejohn 8, Ellie Holen 3, Ritter 2. Aces: Schiele 2, Holen 1, Ellingson 1, Gaffaney 1, Meiklejohn 1, E. Holen 1.
BC -- Kills: Chloe Johnson 10, Tyra Blue 9, Grace Hanno 8. Assists: Madilyn Wagaman 23. Digs: Tannah Heath 21, Hanno 16. Aces: Sami Wasmund 1, Hanno 1.
Records: UJ 16-1, 14-1 GPAC; Briar Cliff 9-15, 4-12