“It was sometime in October I said to this team — I just noticed something and I had been for a while — and I said to this team ‘Out of all the teams that I’ve coached I think this team might have the best chance to win a national championship,'” Jamestown Jimmies volleyball coach Jon Hegerle recalled. “Which was (an) eye opener, and the big reason I said that is because I felt there is something special, number one. And number two, what we did the last three seasons really prepared our team for some things, and I think one of the things it did is it really humbled us.”
“We were definitely motivated just because, yeah, the past three years we made it to the final four but lost,” Jimmies’ junior Ellie Holen said. “So we just didn’t want to feel that heartbreak again. This team had a different hunger to us.”
“This team specifically just had the grit and selflessness and we knew that it wasn’t going to come easy,” Jimmies’ senior Anna Holen said. “Even for girls that hadn’t experienced a final four loss, they still just had a fight about them as if they had lost a final four.”
“I think we played a lot more free in the final game just knowing we beat Midland and broke the curse of the final four,” Jimmies’ senior, and NAIA Player of the Year, Kalli Hegerle said. “That was really exciting.”
“There was this kind of pressure, but like you said, once we won everyone just started to cry and we were just so happy and so proud of what we accomplished,” Ellie said.
“It was crazy to play a five set match and turn around and play another one, and both games were so long, but it was so fun,” Anna explained. “I don’t even care how long the game takes because it’s just that much more time to spend out there with the people that we love to be out on the court with, so it was special.”
“The message at that point was trust in each other and trust in their process and what we’ve done, and let’s see how this thing goes,” Jon said. “Most of the time when things get a little tense I just have a big smile and I say, ‘You guys, this is so much fun.'”
“Even the last point, it was a grind the last point of the game,” Ellie said. “So after Kalli got that block it was just a relief and we couldn’t believe it.”
“We got the block and I turned around and I was like, ‘okay let’s go! We need one more!’ And the game was over,” Kalli said with a laugh. “Everyone was rushing the court, and I was in shock and I was like, ‘we won?’ Yeah, it was crazy.”
“It was really humbling, but in the same token it’s really awesome to know we’re a part of something way bigger than us,” Jon said.
“Jimmie nation — they’re the best fans in the world,” Ellie explained. “I don’t think there’s a place in the country they wouldn’t go to watch us. This isn’t just a win for us. It’s a win for the college, and the community of Jamestown.”
“Knowing that that support has lasted this long is just as much of a win for the Jamestown community and UJ as it is a win for the volleyball team,” Anna said. “It feels amazing getting to bring it home for them too.”