News that officially broke Tuesday had left the University of Jamestown women's volleyball team in stunned silence last Saturday at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa.

Stew McDole, a longtime member of the NAIA women's volleyball national recognition committee with more than 900 career wins as head coach at Iowa's Graceland University, huddled the Jimmies together for an important announcement.

The Jimmies' head coach Jon Hegerle had won NAIA Coach of the Year, and juniors Kalli Hegerle and Anna Holen were to become the first NAIA All-American first-team selections in UJ volleyball history.

"It was about 10 seconds of just silence because, certainly, it isn't anything that's expected," coach Hegerle said. "But it's just a really good reflection of our program and where it's going, and what those players were able to do.

"It's an honor and we're certainly grateful to be in this position."

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Hegerle and the Jimmies have routinely referenced "perpetual ascension" when talking about the team's rise to national prominence over the last handful of years, which by definition would have to include the nation's best coach at some point.

Hegerle's achievement is a reflection of the tireless energy he's dedicated to both the University of Jamestown and to his athletes since taking over the program in 2009, which produced his 300th career win last Thursday at the national tournament.

University of Jamestown's Kalli Hegerle sends a kill attempt through the Eastern Oregon block during the quarterfinals of the NAIA women's volleyball tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, on Thursday, April 29, 2021. Photo courtesy Tim Tushla
University of Jamestown's Kalli Hegerle sends a kill attempt through the Eastern Oregon block during the quarterfinals of the NAIA women's volleyball tournament in Sioux City, Iowa, on Thursday, April 29, 2021. Photo courtesy Tim Tushla

The coach has guided UJ to eight NAIA national tournaments -- five consecutively including last weekend's second straight national semifinal appearance -- back-to-back Great Plains Athletic Conference tournament titles, and the program's first No. 1 ranking this spring.

Hegerle's college coaching record stands at 300-112 all-time after 12 seasons with the Jims, and even after all that winning the limelight still feels awkward.

"It's uncomfortable," Hegerle laughed. "Just because we're so into what we're doing and so into how we're doing things that it's just not something that's in my mind."

The coach was obviously more excited to talk about his niece, Kalli, and Holen, two players who owned the court during UJ's 30-2 season that saw the Jimmies at the top of five straight national polls.

Kalli, a 6-foot former setter for NCAA Division I North Dakota State, transferred to UJ last year and transformed into a right-side hitter, posting a hitting percentage of .305 with 301 kills.

Holen, a former North Dakota Miss Basketball Award winner and Class B volleyball senior athlete of the year recipient at the high school level, led the Jimmies with 322 kills and her 498 digs was second in the GPAC behind senior teammate Sydney Ellingson's 607.

"That was what I was most excited about, just seeing where those two ended up," coach Hegerle said. "That again is just a real reflection of just a whole bunch of people building this program.

"I used to always say to the teams, in the beginning, our job is just to move that ceiling a little bit more. So we've had a whole bunch of groups that have just pushed that ceiling a little bit higher and a little bit higher, and it's kinda paved the way for things like this to happen."

University of Jamestown's Anna Holen (2)  passes the ball as teammates Nicole Schmitz (14) and Sydney Ellingson look on against Midland University in the semifinals of the NAIA women's volleyball national tournament at Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa, on Friday, April 30, 2021. Michael Savaloja / The Sun
University of Jamestown's Anna Holen (2) passes the ball as teammates Nicole Schmitz (14) and Sydney Ellingson look on against Midland University in the semifinals of the NAIA women's volleyball national tournament at Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa, on Friday, April 30, 2021. Michael Savaloja / The Sun

Hegerle and Holen combined for 122 total blocks. Both were selected as first-team GPAC all-conference members, NAIA all-tournament team members and recently earned AVCA West Central Region honors along with senior middle Corina Huff (222 kills, 111 total blocks) and junior setter Jackie Meiklejohn (738 assists, 31 aces).

"Certainly they've been gifted with some great athleticism, but in the same token they've worked extremely hard," Hegerle said. "They're both very driven in everything they do. When you look at what they do outside the court -- in the classroom and in life -- they're also very driven and they want to be the best."

Tuesday's formal announcement possibly made falling to GPAC rival Midland University last Friday a little easier to swallow. The Warriors ended the Jimmies' season 3-1 in the national semifinals, prior to falling in Saturday's championship match 3-2 to Missouri Baptist.

The Jimmies were hoping to reach, and possibly win, UJ's first appearance in a national team championship game.

"Getting some texts from former players and former coaches here, and it just makes you really appreciate the community we're in, the university we're in and the young women that have put a lot of themselves into building this program and the culture," Hegerle said. "I'm just extremely grateful that God has brought me to Jamestown and has given me the opportunity to work with just a whole bunch of tremendous people."

Hegerle said he plans to give the Jimmies a well-deserved four weeks off this month. UJ moves back in to begin fall camp three months from tomorrow (May 5).

"We have a team meeting tonight (Tuesday)," Hegerle said. "First thing on the agenda is get some rest."

2020 NAIA Women's Volleyball

All-Americans

First Team

Kalli Hegerle, Jamestown (N.D.), RS, Jr, West Fargo, N.D.

Anna Holen, Jamestown (N.D.), OH, Jr, LaMoure, N.D.

Olivia Galas, Bellevue (Neb.), S, JR, Bellevue, Neb.

Brenna Krommendyk, Dordt (Iowa), MB, So, Belle Plain, Minn.

Jodie Kelly, Madonna (Mich.), OH, SR, Romeo, Mich.

Skyler Van Note, Marian (Ind.), OH, Jr, Muncie, Ind.

Giovanna Tapigliani, Missouri Baptist, RS, Sr, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Lacey Reitz, Northwestern (Iowa), S, Sr, Jackson, Minn.

Anna Wedel, Northwestern (Iowa), OH, Sr, Maurice, Iowa

Sophia Salak, Oklahoma City, S, JR, McKinney, Texas

Nada Meawad, Park (Mo.), OH, Sr, Cairo,, Egypt

Bailey Foy, Texas Wesleyan, MB, SR, Paris, Texas

Katie Emmerling, The Master's (Calif.), S, SR, Clovis, Calif.

Lexi Malone, Westmont (Calif.), MB, SO, Ventura, Calif.

NAIA Player of the Year: Nada Meawad, Park (Mo.)

NAIA Setter of the Year: Olivia Galas, Bellevue (Neb.)

NAIA Defender of the Year: Brenna Krommendyk, Dordt (Iowa)

NAIA Coach of the Year: Jon Hegerle, Jamestown (N.D.)

Second Team

Isabelle North, Bethel (Ind.), MB, Fr, Hoagland, Ind.

Avari Ridgway, Corban (Ore.), OH, JR, McMinnville, Ore.

Cambree Scott, Eastern Oregon, MB, JR, Bend, Oregon

Eryn Russell, Evangel (Mo.), L, Jr, Republic, Mo.

Rachel Klitzing, Indiana Wesleyan, MB, Sr, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Erinn Adam, IU Kokomo (Ind.), MB, Sr, Bloomington, Ind.

Abbie Seward, Keiser (Fla.), OH, SR, Bloomington, Ill.

Lena Pucnik, Life (Ga.), OH, SO, Celje, Slovenia

Victoria Johnson, Mayville State (N.D.), MB, JR, Roseau, Minn.

Taliyah Flores, Midland (Neb.), OH, Jr, Papillion, Neb.

Amanda Mendes, Park (Mo.), S, Sr, Sacramento, Brazil

Cydney Finberg-Roberts, Providence (Mont.), S, JR, Columbia Falls, Mont.

Maya Roberts, Viterbo (Wis.), Op, SR, Watertown, Wis.

Kellie Kozak, Wayland Baptist (Texas), MB, SR, Ituna, Saskatchewan, Canada

Third Team

Payton Klein, Aquinas (Mich.), RS, SR, Bruce Township, Mich.

Eve Fountain, Bellevue (Neb.), OH, FR, Omaha, Neb.

Paola Sanabria-Sanchez, Bethany (Kan.), OH, Sr, Rincon, Puerto Rico

Maddy Payne, Bethel (Ind.), MB, Fr, Nappanee, Ind.

Grace Stumbaugh, Central Methodist (Mo.), MB, Sr, Concordia, Mo.

Luisa Ferreira, Columbia (Mo.), S, So, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Maddie Polzin, Dakota State (S.D.), OH, SR, Baltic, S.D.

Jennifer Roth, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), OH, Sr, Madras, Ore.

Raylyn Dodd, Missouri Baptist, MB, Sr, Fredericktown, Mo.

Sara Klunder, Missouri Baptist, MB, Fr, Hudson, Iowa

Isidora Stojovic, Missouri Baptist, OH, Sr, Belgrade, Serbia

Ayona Tharps, Ottawa (Kan.), RS, Sr, Collinsville, Ill.

Kate Pestova, Ottawa (Ariz.), OH, JR, Tacoma, Wash.

Courtney Pressley, Reinhardt (Ga.), OH, SO, Loganville, Ga.

Honorable Mention

Kali Crawford, Aquinas (Mich.), S, SR, Grand Rapids, Mich.

Madelyn Haut, Ave Maria (Fla.), MB, SO, Monroe, Mich.

Brianna Rivera, Benedictine Mesa (Ariz.), OH, SO, Chandler, Ariz.

Annabelle Somoza, Benedictine Mesa (Ariz.), S, SO, Patagonia, Ariz.

Makenna Northern, Bushnell (Ore.), S, JR, Browsville, Ore.

Paige Merrick, Campbellsville (Ky.), S, JR, Coxs Creek, Ky.

Taelyr Krantz, Carroll (Mont.), MB, JR, Helena, Mont

Tara Callahan, Concordia (Neb.), S, Sr, Brady, Neb.

Kayla Clark, Cornerstone (Mich.), S, SR, Jenison, Mich.

Ady Dwight, Dakota Wesleyan (S.D.), MB, Fr, Langford, S.D.

Alli Timmermans, Dordt (Iowa), Opp, Jr, Orange City, Iowa

Kiley McMurtrey, Eastern Oregon, L, SR, Idaho Falls, Idaho

Breanna Shaffer, Eastern Oregon, OH, JR, Kennewick, Wash.

Hunter Keller, Georgetown (Ky.), MB, SO, Cincinnati, Ohio

Reece Shirley, IU East (Ind.), S, Fr, Michigan City, Ind.

Jessica Swimm, IU East (Ind.), OH, Fr, Hagerstown, Ind.

Jacey Blust, Indiana Tech, L, SO, Florence, Mich.

Ana Collar, Indiana Wesleyan, RS, Jr, Cicero, Ind.

Lizzie Sokeland, IU Kokomo (Ind.), MB, Sr, Bloomington, Ind.

Hannah Marchand, IU South Bend (Ind.), MB, SR, Sturgis, Mich.

Jillian Blackman, John Brown (Ark.), L, SO, Stillwell, Kan.

Lauren Cloud, John Brown (Ark.), S, SO, Springdale, Ark.

Amber Dilsaver, Keiser (Fla.), OPP, JR, Fort Madison, Iowa

Mary Zimmerman, Life (Ga.), MB, SR, Newborn, Ga.

Hannah Caddow, Life Pacific (Calif.), OH, SO, Santa Clarita, Calif.

Sydney Culpepper, Life Pacific (Calif.), OH, SR, Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

Camryn Rich, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), S, SO, Louisville, Ky.

Alexis Smith, Lindsey Wilson (Ky.), OH, JR, Georgetown, Ind.

Sarah Spangler, Marian (Ind.), RS, Jr, Cedar Lake, Ind.

Mason Hart, Mayville State (N.D.), L, SR, Moorhead, Minn.

Aidan Brown, McPherson (Kan.), OH, Fr, Sterling, Ill.

Hannah Foecker, Mid-America Christian (Okla.), OH, SR, Sudlohn, Germany

Maegan Plunk, Mid-America Christian (Okla.), L, SR, Rowlett, Texas

Jacque Calvert, MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), MB, Sr, Kansas City, Mo.

Hope Leimbach, Midland (Neb.), S, So, Lincoln, Neb.

Maddie Bell, Mount Mercy (Iowa), MB, Sr, Ely, Iowa

Makenzie Fink, Northwestern (Iowa), RS, Sr, Lanark, Ill.

Essence West, Oklahoma Panhandle (Okla.), OH, SO, Dallas, Texas

Janelle Skinner, Olivet Nazarene (Ill.), S, JR, Bolingbrook, Ill.

Kalani Ketchens, Our Lady of the Lake (Texas), OH, SR, San Antonio, Texas

Noura Meawad, Park (Mo.), RS, Sr, Cairo, Egypt

Sacha Legros, Providence (Mont.), L, SR, Verviers, Belgium

Sadie Lott, Providence (Mont.), OH, FR, Idaho Falls, Idaho

Ayla Embry, Rocky Mountain (Mont.), L, SO, Bozeman, Mont.

Breanna Brooks, San Diego Christian (Calif.), MB, FR, Gilbert, Ariz.

Macie Rhoads, Shawnee State (Ohio), OH, JR, Circleville, Ohio

Alexis Mealer, SAGU (Texas), OH, JR, Arlington, Texas

Jill Kavalauskas, St. Ambrose (Iowa), OH, JR, Chicago, Ill.

Amanda Adams, Taylor (Ind.), OH, Sr, Heath, Ohio

Shayna Baugh, Union (Ky.), MB, JR, Tucson, Ariz.



American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA)

Spring 2021 NAIA Region Awards

WEST CENTRAL REGION

Aiden Brown, McPherson, OH, FR

Tara Callahan, Concordia, S, SR

Ady Dwight, Dakota Wesleyan, MH, FR

Makenzie Fink, Northwestern, OPP, SR

Taliyah Flores, Midland, OH, JR

Kalli Hegerle, Jamestown, OPP, JR

Anna Holen, Jamestown, OH, JR

Brenna Krommendyk, Dordt, MH, SO

Hope Leimbach, Midland, S, SO

Lacey Reitz, Northwestern, S, SR

Paola Sanabria-Lopez, Bethany, OH, SR

Ayona Tharps, Ottawa (KS), OPP, SR

Alli Timmermans, Dordt, OPP, JR

Anna Wedel, Northwestern, OH, SR

HONORABLE MENTION

Rachel Cushing, College of Saint Mary, L, FR

Corina Huff, Jamestown, MH, SR

Rylee Kenitzer, St. Mary's, OH, SO

Jackie Meiklejohn, Jamestown, S, JR

Emily Monson, Kansas Wesleyan, L, SO

Gabi Nordaker, Concordia, MH, FR

Lucy Skoch, Hastings, OPP, SR

Krista Zenk, Morningside, OH, SR

Region Coach of the Year: Jon Hegerle, Jamestown University

Region Assistant Coach of the Year: Adriana Skipper, Ottawa University (KS)

Region Player of the Year: Anna Wedel, Northwestern, OH, SR.

Region Freshman of the Year: Ady Dwight, Dakota Wesleyan, MH, FR.

Region Defender of the Year: Brenna Krommendyk, Dordt, MH, SO.

Region Setter of the Year: Lacey Reitz, Northwestern, S, SR.