Hopkins Wins Centennial Title
• Score: Johns Hopkins 3, Swarthmore 1 (20-25, 25-16, 25-16, 25-19)
• Records: Johns Hopkins (24-3) Swarthmore (21-7)
• Location: Baltimore, MD • Goldfarb Gym
• The Short Story: Top seed Johns Hopkins took on second seed Swarthmore in a rematch of last season’s Centennial Conference volleyball final, and for the second straight year the Blue Jays prevailed, defeating the Garnet 3-1 to claim Hopkins’ fifth Centennial Conference Tournament Title.
How it Happened
• Down 6-5 in the first set, JHU scored three straight points to take an 8-6 lead on a kill by Sasha Gorelik. Swarthmore rebounded to pull ahead 11-10 on an attack error by the Blue Jays, but Simone Bliss tied the set with a kill. Two attacking errors by Swarthmore gave JHU an 18-16 advantage and forced a Garnet timeout. Sarah Wallace brought Swarthmore to within one with a kill and she followed that with an ace to tie the set. The Garnet went on a 5-0 run to take a 23-19 lead, but Kristi Rhead stopped the Garnet run with a kill. Swarthmore scored the final two points after the Rhead kill to take the set 25-20.
• Elizabeth Wuerstle stepped to the service line to begin set two, and Hopkins scored six straight points to force a Garnet timeout. Later in the set Wuerstle came to the service line once again and this time the Blue Jays scored three straight to go up 19-11. JHU notched set point on an attack error by Swarthmore as took set two 25-16 to tie the match at one set apiece.
• Once again Hopkins took an early lead in the third set, going up 12-6 to force a Garnet timeout. Two consecutive kills by Bliss extended the Blue Jays’ lead to 14-6. A 4-0 run by Johns Hopkins put the Blue Jays up 20-11 and Swarthmore used its final timeout of the set. An ace by Louisa Kishton and a kill from Bliss gave JHU set point at 24-15, however, Wallace would notch a kill to save set point and make the score 24-16. The Blue Jays responded with a Wuerstle kill to take the set 25-16 and go up 2-1.
• Back-and-forth the Centennial rivals went to open the fourth set, but Johns Hopkins went on a 7-0 run to take a 13-6 lead. Swarthmore then scored four straight to pull to within three at 13-10, but a Wuerstle kill stopped the Garnet run. The Blue Jays slowly extended their lead, and with an attacking error by the Garnet, Hopkins would win the set, 25-19 and the match 3-1 to claim its second consecutive Centennial Conference Tournament title.
What it Means
• With their win, the Blue Jays now have five Centennial Tournament titles and improve to 5-3 in championship matches. JHU is 14-13 overall in the tournament and 6-2 as the top seed.
• JHU locks up a spot in the NCAA tournament for the second straight season with the victory.
Inside the Box Score
• Wuerstle was named the tournament MVP as she compiled 19 kills, 13 digs, and 10 aces. For the match, she had 11 kills, five aces, and eight digs.
• Bliss led JHU with 16 kills while Esther Hong led the team with 15 digs.
• Natalie Aston had a match-high 37 assists. As a team, the Garnet had 31 total assists.
• Kishton finished the match with eight kills and 11 digs while Rhead and Gorelik finished with six kills each.
• The Blue Jays have earned the Centennial Conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and will await their seeding and opponent when the brackets are announced on Monday, November 6 at 12:30 pm.