Lund, Jayhawks Ready For Nationals

Lund, Jayhawks Ready For Nationals

Article copied from Jamestown Post Journa (http://www.post-journal.com/sports/local-sports/2018/11/lund-jayhawks-ready-for-nationals/)

Her volleyball practice complete late Monday afternoon, Jamestown Community College coach Ashley Lund's evening itinerary was going to be pretty simple: Go home, make some cupcakes and then try and get some sleep.

Making the cupcakes — her daughter needed a treat to share with her school classmates on her birthday today — wasn't going to be problem.

Getting some shut-eye, on the other hand, was going to be different story.

Because when you're on the eve of a trip to the NJCAA Division III National Championship Tournament in Rochester, Minnesota and your alarm is set for not long after midnight in order to catch an all-too-early flight to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, sleep can be hard to come by.

For Lund, it's worth it, as this trip to the nationals will be her third in 10 years and the second in a row.

"It crosses my mind that there's a chance for that to happen," Lund said of making a back-to-back appearance at the nationals. "I believe the girls work hard enough where that's always in the realm for us."

Returning sophomores Kendyl Austin, the Region 3 Player of the Year; Sierra Wells, the Western New York Athletic Conference POY; and Kaylin Brumagin have led the way, Lund said.

"Once they figured it out, they exploded," she said. "They grew and the team did, too. … They helped me lead."

Austin is ranked second nationally in both kills per set (3.94) and total kills (366) and is eighth in service aces per set (0.68)

The remainder of the roster includes freshmen Emma Wirsen, Cameryn Hawkins, Jennah Starkweather, Savannah Damon, Madison Russo, Megan Gominiak and Jenna Caskey.

Lauren Beichner is the assistant coach.

Caskey, a Region 3 first-team all-star, is No. 3 nationally in hitting percentage (.293) and was named the Region 3 Athlete of the Week after being named the Most Valuable Player of the Region 3B championship; and Wells is third in service aces per set (0.76) and Caskey is fifth (0.71)

"Everyone has just adjusted and stepped up," Lund said. " … Everyone has done their part, done their job, stuck with it and remained positive. Even the ones who don't get on the court that much, they're on the bench screaming, cheering and losing their voices, and putting everything they can into the team, even if it's not through their play."

The Jayhawks (26-2), ranked No. 7 in the NJCAA Division III poll, are also the No. 7 seed at the national tournament. They'll open Thursday when they meet No. 10 Nassau at 11 a.m. EST in a first-round match at the UCR Regional Sports Center. A victory would advance Jamestown CC into the quarterfinals against No. 2 Central Lakes at 5 p.m. eastern on Thursday. A loss would drop it into the consolation match at 3 p.m.

"I want to win that first game," Lund said. "I want to have that chance to go to the championship side (of the bracket). We haven't had that yet. If we play at our very best, we'll put up a good fight, for sure."

In 2017, the Jayhawks lost their first two matches at nationals, including the second in five games, and then won a consolation match before returning home.

"This year we have a chance to win that first game," Lund said.

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