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Jimmies advance to final 16 at nationals

University of Jamestown's Haley Glasoe (13) and Isabel Wedell (6) put up a block against Texas Wesleyan University's Tierra Coverson (13) Thursday in Sioux City, Iowa. Sean Johnson / For The Sun1 / 2
University of Jamestown's Meghan Orr prepares to serve a ball into play Thursday vs. Texas Wesleyan University in Sioux City, Iowa. Sean Johnson / For The Sun2 / 2

After her volleyball team set a new program standard Thursday in Sioux City, Iowa, Josie Beckman was elated for a different reason.

"We're super, super excited, but the more important thing is being able to play another game with the most amazing team," University of Jamestown's junior setter said. "It's awesome making history, but we're so happy to be making it together."

The Jimmies, for the first time, advanced to the 16-team elimination bracket of the NAIA Women's Volleyball National Championship tournament. Jamestown swept Texas Wesleyan University 3-0 on the final day of pool play and avoided having to play tiebreakers when No. 1-ranked Lindsey Wilson (Ky.)—in a shocker—outlasted Cornerstone University (Mich.) 3-2. Lindsey Wilson (31-0) had only lost one set all season prior to Thursday, but it too advances to the final round of 16.

The Jimmies went 2-1 in pool play and will face a very familiar opponent today. Jamestown plays North Star Athletic Association conference rival Viterbo University at 1:30. A national champion gets crowned Saturday.

"I knew at the beginning of the season that this team had the capability to go farther than any other team that came before it," University of Jamestown head coach, and Beckman's father, Jon Hegerle said. "This is the third time (at nationals) for some of these seniors and they're not so starstruck by the surroundings and they know what the process is like.

"We've been building on it every year and they've been able to take advantage of the success the program has had the past few years."

The 19th-ranked Jimmies (23-9) ran into little resistance against Texas Wesleyan (27-7), turning away the Lady Rams 25-17, 25-15, 25-15. The third set was strongest for the Jimmies, hitting .444 as a team. The Rams were upside down in attacking, recording more errors (25) than kills (21).

Senior outside hitter Morgan Hensch led the Jimmies with nine kills, while Beckman recorded a match-high 20 assists. Haley Glasoe added seven total blocks and Elise Peterson notched 15 digs for the Jimmies.

"We played really well today," Hegerle said. "We were in system a lot and we passed really well."

Jamestown fell to unranked Union College (Ky.) on the final day of national tournament pool play last season, which sent Jamestown, Union College and Missouri Baptist to tiebreakers after all three finished 1-2 in the pool. The Jimmies beat Union 25-23 in a one-set tiebreaker, but their season ended losing to Missouri Baptist 25-23.

Second-ranked Viterbo, today's opponent, has been a thorn in the side of the Jimmies. Jamestown is 1-10 against the three-time defending NSAA conference champion dating back to 2011, falling in five sets to the V-Hawks at Newman Arena on Oct. 21.

Viterbo breezed through pool play, sweeping Our Lady of the Lake (Texas), 17th-ranked Georgetown College (Ky.) and Eastern Oregon.

"I thought they looked really good today, and that's what you expect out of a team like that at this point of the season," Hegerle said. "We have to block well. When we block well against Viterbo that's where we have created a lot of pressure on them and created a lot of momentum for ourselves."

"Our team really relies on our energy," Beckman added. "We have to focus on what we're doing on our side of the net, rather than worry about what they're doing on their side of the net."

(19) Jamestown 3, Texas Wesleyan 0

TWU 17 15 15

UJ 25 25 25

TWU (leaders)—Kills: Shelby Stinnett 8, Tierra Coverson 6. Assists: Sasha Robinson 15. Aces: Stinnett. Digs: Kayla Hayes 12, Stinnett 11. Blocks: Coverson 3.

UJ—Kills: Morgan Hensch 9, Haley Glasoe 8, Jessica Velander 7, Isabel Wedell 6, Kennedy Conzemius 4, Madison Wendel 3, Josie Beckman. Assists: Beckman 20, Whitney King 13, Elise Peterson 2, Kori Buchanan, Meghan Orr. Aces: Peterson 2, Julina Niemeier. Digs: Peterson 15, Beckman 12, Niemeier 8, Orr 6, King 4, Velander 3, Glasoe 2, Hensch 2, Wedell, Conzemius, Buchanan. Blocks: Glasoe 7, Hensch 5, Wendel 4, Wedell 2, Conzemius.

Records: Jamestown 23-9. Texas Wesleyan 27-7.

Michael Savaloja

Hometown: Churchs Ferry, N.D.; College: North Dakota

A recipient of the NDHSCA Award of Merit, Savaloja has been reporting sports for The Sun since 2008.

Follow on Twitter: @MichaelSavaloja

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