Hastings College couldn't seem to handle the bullets the University of Jamestown women's volleyball team sent to the ground Saturday afternoon.
"I really thought we served tough and that made a big difference in the game," UJ head women's volleyball coach Jon Hegerle said. "That's probably the most important battle that we need to win every night is the serving-passing battle."
The University of Jamestown women's volleyball team kept its perfect season intact, defeating the Broncos in a 3-1 Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) battle. The Jimmies improved to 12-0 and 10-0 in the conference, while the Broncos fell to 4-6 and 3-5 in league play.
The Jimmies will host Mayville State Thursday at 7 p.m.
Hegerle said the team's focus on steady defense and aggressive serving techniques is one thing that has distinguished the Jimmies' level of play from the recent competition.
"We spend a lot of time on our serving and our passing -- it's so important," Hegerle said. "We have veteran players passing and veteran players serving so we have a lot of experience and that just builds confidence."
UJ assistant coach Jake Fulsom is the one in charge of calling the serves. Hegerle said Fulsom, who's in his third season with the Jimmies, is being aggressive when targeting spots on the court. Fulsom's serve calling translated into nine aces against the Broncos.
Freshman serving specialist Ellie Holen single-handedly racked up a third of the team's total aces
"He's making them serve tough balls and they are really responding well," Hegerle said. "It's nice to see them take some risks. It really opens the game up for us at times."
The consistent first ball contact certainly helped the Jimmies offense get going, as the team out-hit Hastings .205 to .061 in the first set and .542 to .167 in set No. 2.
Kalli Hegerle drilled 16 balls past Hastings' defenders to bring her weekend kills total to 29. The junior right-side is posted a .516 hitting percentage.
"She took the pressure off of us a lot with some really important kills at certain times this weekend," coach Hegerle said. "That was really fun to see. She's just finding her groove again as an athlete."
Hannah Schiele answered the call in the back row popping up a weekend total of 28 balls to setters Jackie Meiklejohn and Megan Gaffaney. Schiele also racked up an ace from the backline.
"Hannah is just playing with such great confidence and maturity," Hegerle said. "That's a good deal. It's just neat to see them play with such maturity and poise."
But even mature and poised teams make some mistakes.
Hastings took advantage of eight Jimmie attack errors and built an 18-10 lead despite only hitting .103. Jamestown rallied for 11 of the next 16 points to get within two before the Broncos won the set 25-23.
But Hastings made seven attack errors at the net in the fourth, while the Jimmies swung .353 to win the set and the match 25-18. UJ made just two attack errors and ended the final set with 14 team kills.
"We're a pretty steady team," Hegerle said. "We concentrate a lot on putting pressure on them and playing our game. Teams are going to go on runs, but a big part for us is not to let that get to us. We seem to be able to weather those storms pretty easily."
University of Jamestown 3, Hastings College 1
UJ 25 25 23 25
HC 20 13 25 18
UJ -- Kills: Hegerle 17, Anna Holen 11, Nicole Schmitz 9, Corina Huff 8, Taylor Sabinash 8, Jayla Ritter 7, Megan Gaffaney 1. Assists: Meiklejohn 27, Gaffaney 25. Digs: Holen 18, Schiele 15, Sydney Ellingson 14, Gaffaney 6, Meiklejohn 4, Schmitz 2, Hegerle 2, Sabinash 2. Aces: Ellie Holen 3, Gaffaney 2, Schiele 1, Holen, Ellingson 1, Meiklejohn 1.
HC -- Kills: Marlee Taylor 11, Lucy Skoch 11, Emily Krolikowski 9. Assists: Makenna Asher 19. Digs: Ireland Currey 13, Asher 11. Aces: Taylor Harrington 2, Kamri Adler 2.
Records: UJ 12-0, 10-0 GPAC; Hastings 4-6, 3-5.