Anna Holen began her third volleyball season as a Jimmie the same way she ended last December.
Swinging and scoring.
Holen and the Jimmies racked up a road win Friday besting Dordt University 23-25, 25-13, 25-20, 25-21 in Sioux City, Iowa. The Jimmies will face Morningside College Saturday to try and improve their now 1-0 record.
Dordt (5-1) will have a shot at redemption next week. The Jimmies are slated to host the Defenders on Tuesday. UJ's first home match of the season is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at Harold Newman Arena.
"I was really proud of the way we served, the way we defended and the way we passed," UJ head women's volleyball coach Jon Hegerle said. "I think in set one we showed we were playing our first match a little bit but after that, I don't think you could tell. I was proud of our players."
After Dordt served up a 25-23 set win to begin the match, the Jimmies upped the pace feeding the ball to Holen on the outside. The junior topped the scoring charts with 13 balls smashed. Recent North Dakota State transfer Kalli Hegerle made her Jimmie debut and put down 11 balls on the right side.
The Defenders' defense, anchored by Hannah Connelly (20 digs) and setter Corina Beimers (9), could not keep pace with Holen and Hegerle in set No. 2 allowing the Jimmies to serve up a 12-point win to tie the match 1-1. Hegerle said that heading into the third, it was important that the momentum continue to swing in Jamestown's favor.
"What's important to us is that we are focused on each other, that we have tremendous energy and that we play with tremendous enthusiasm," Hegerle said. "Those are the things that we kind of focus on as a team - we know that if we can do that, good things will happen."
Good things did happen in the third thanks to a sturdy Jimmie defense.
Holen, a LaMoure native and three-year Jimmie team member, was not just an asset in the front. Holen played all six positions tying senior libero Sydney Ellingson for the most digs with 18. The duo defended the court against powerful hits from Corrina Timmermans (7) and Karsyn Winterfield (4).
"This is going to be Anna's year," Hegerle said. "She's just really embraced being an all-around player for us. Her speed, her athleticism and her volleyball I.Q. just sets her apart from a lot of players on other teams.
"She had some errors ... but she had a really good night. That's kind of what we expect out of her."
Holen was a part of the historic 2019 Jimmie team that advanced farther into the postseason than any other UJ sports team. Last season ended with the Jimmies just missing the NAIA national tournament finals. The loss to Marian University closed a season that included a Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) tournament championship and a program-record high of 33 match victories.
With a new year comes a new team.
Holen suited up next to her younger sister, Ellie, a freshman out of LaMoure/Litchville-Marion. Ellie is rostered as a service specialist on the varsity squad. The freshman racked up her first ace as a Jimmie and posted four digs against big hits from Dordt's Jessi De Jager (13 kills) and Brenna Krommendyk (7).
"She's a lot like Anna - has the same mentality," Hegerle said of the younger Holen sister. "Right now she is just a serving specialist ... but she made the most out of it tonight. She served a lot of tough balls and had some really good defensive plays. We know the sky's the limit for her as well."
While sets three and four saw multiple leads cut to just one point, Hegerle said he was proud of the way his team fought for the first win of the season.
"Our challenge for our team was to come in and to be the most enthusiastic and energetic people in the gym and we did that," Hegerle said. "We're just really excited that we are playing volleyball again.
"In the midst of all the chaos in our world, it was like we were in an oasis where everything was right again. It was fun."
Jamestown 3, Dordt 1
UJ 23 25 25 25
D 25 13 20 21
UJ -- Kills: Holen 13, Hegerle 11, Taylor Sabinash 9, Jayla Ritter 8, Nicole Schmitz 7, Corina Huff 3, Hannah Schiele 1, Megan Gaffney 1, Jackie Meiklejohn 1 Assists: Meiklejohn 25, Gaffney 20. Digs: Sydney Ellingson 18, Holen 18, Hannah Schiele 13, Meiklejohn 7, Ellie Holen 4, Gaffney 4, Kalli Hegerle 2, Schmitz 1, Ritter 1, Huff 1, . Aces: Schiele 1, Gaffney 1, Meiklejohn 1, E. Holen 1..
D -- Kills: Jessi De Jager 13, Brenna Krommendyk 7, Jori Bronner 7, Corrina Timmermans 6. Assists: Megan Raszler 21, Corina Beimers 17. Digs: Hannah Connelly 20, Beimers 9, Timmermans 5, Raszler 5. Aces: Beimers 1, Raszler 1, Karsyn Winterfield 1.
Records: UJ 1-0, Dordt 5-1.