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THREE-SET SWEEP: Jimmies dispatch Saints

Three Jimmie defenders, Isabel Wedell (6), Corina Ruud (10) and Ellie Michaletz (4) go to the net for a block Wednesday during NAIA volleyball action against Presentation College at Harold Newman Arena. In the background is the Jimmies' Jackie Meiklejohn. John M. Steiner / The Sun1 / 3
University of Jamestown's Julina Niemeier goes for a dig Wednesday against the Saints at Harold Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun2 / 3
University of Jamestown's Jayla Ritter attacts the ball Wednesday over a Presentation College player during volleyball action at Harold Newman Arena. John M. Steiner / The Sun 3 / 3

Kori Buchanan's full potential on the volleyball court is being realized this fall for University of Jamestown.

The 5-foot-8 senior from Colfax, Wisc., scored seven kills and three ace serves during Wednesday's 3-0 sweep of Presentation College at Harold Newman Arena, an unusual stat line for Buchanan prior to 2018.

University of Jamestown head coach Jon Hegerle's jump-serving specialist the last two seasons, Buchanan was never really called on to attack much in the past.

Like, almost never.

Buchanan scored just one kill on five total attempts in 2017, but led the 23-win Jimmies in aces for a second consecutive season with 31. Buchanan soared against the Saints, finding the floor seven times in nine attempts to score an attacking percentage of .778. She's already posted 75 kills on the year, 67 more than her sophomore and junior seasons combined.

"The team really helps," said Buchanan, deflecting any personal praise. "They're really supportive with whatever is going on, and that's a big part of why I'm doing so good."

The Jimmies, still receiving votes in the NAIA top 25 coaches' poll, struggled to match Presentation's energy in set 1, but did enough to win 26-24. Trailing 10-3 to start, the Jimmies used a 5-0 run late and a string of three Buchanan kills on the outside down the stretch to prevail.

Jamestown also swept the Saints 3-0 in Aberdeen on Sept. 25.

"Just being young, and not really being fired up to play, would be my guess," commented coach Hegerle on his team's start. "Sometime it's tough when you don't think a team is going to put a lot of effort into it, or whatever it is, which is disappointing.

"We've got to go out there and impose our will from the get-go."

The Saints were dealt a blow in the second set when junior middle Haylee Biel went down with what looked to be an injury to her left knee. Biel entered the match 17th in the NAIA in blocks per set (1.19) and was second on the team in kills at 208.

The Jimmies rolled 25-8 in set 2.

"Their other middle got hurt last weekend, so they were already down one middle," Hegerle said. "Haylee was the player, with her blocks, who gave that team energy."

Jamestown received kills from Morgan Thomas, Ellie Michaletz, Jayla Ritter, Isabel Wedell and Miranda Lowman down the stretch in set 3, as the home team rolled 25-13. The Jimmies were resting senior right side Kennedy Conzemius due to soreness Wednesday, according to the coach, but plenty of athletes saw the court, including freshman defensive specialist Hannah Schiele.

The former Jamestown High School all-state libero was making her varsity debut after recently being brought up from the JV. Schiele scored an ace and a pair of digs.

"My nerves were definitely kicking in," Schiele said. "I was shaking, I didn't know what to expect, but I kinda just went in there, took a breath and did what I needed to do."

Michaletz and Wedell both finished with eight kills to lead the Jimmies. Lowman led the home team with 20 assists and Julina Niemeier posted a team-leading 16 digs.

"We're getting good experience and learning as we go," Hegerle said. "Our biggest goal right now is just putting our team first and trying to create synergy and energy."

The Jimmies (15-4, 5-3 GPAC) resume Great Plains Athletic Conference play this weekend on the road. Jamestown travels to Crete, Neb., to face Doane University (9-11, 2-6) on Friday and will play at 14th-ranked Hastings College (10-5, 5-3) in Hastings, Neb., on Saturday.

"They're long road trips," Buchanan said. "But we try to stay in the mindset of we just gotta get after it right away."

(RV) Jamestown 3, Presentation College 0

PC 24 8 13

UJ 26 25 25

PC—Kills: Kayla Wolfe 8, Evy Peterson 5, Amber Cline 4. Assists: Maddie Goetz 12. Digs: Goetz 14, Laura Babcock 10.

UJ—Kills: Isabel Wedell 8, Ellie Michaletz 8, Kori Buchanan 7, Jayla Ritter 6, Britta Knudson 5, Corina Ruud 3, Jordan Thomas 3. Assists: Miranda Lowman 20, Jackie Meiklejohn 13, Megan Gaffaney 4, Julina Niemeier 3. Aces: Buchanan 3, Anna Holen 1, Hannah Schiele 1, Gaffaney 1. Digs: Niemeier 16, Meiklejohn 6, Sydney Ellingson 6, Lowman 5, Holen 4. Blocks: Ritter 3, Ruud 2, Michaletz 2.

Records: Jamestown 15-4. Presentation 9-9.

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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