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Jan. 22, 2008
For a season that started with questions of can this team persevere, the end result was yes it can. Head coach Scott Pennewill entered the 2007 season as a young team that had holes to fill after the graduation of several key players and only one senior on the roster.
Hopkins opened the season as it traditionally does by hosting the ASICS/Hopkins Invitational. The Blue Jays opened play on Friday night with back-to-back victories over UMass-Boston and Goucher. Sophomore Allison Cappelaere had a combined 17 kills on the night while junior Amanda Lewis averaged 36.5 assists in the two matches.
On day two of the invitational, the Blue Jays pounded out a 3-0 win over Mt. Aloysius before claiming a thrilling 3-2 come from behind victory over Salisbury to capture the title. Lewis averaged 35 assists and was one of two Blue Jays named to the all-tournament team. Junior Kim Jackanich also earned a spot on the all-tournament team after posting a double-double (kills and digs) in the win over the Sea Gulls.
After starting the season 4-0, Hopkins suffered its first loss on Sept. 5 to Eastern by a 3-0 score. The Blue Jays bounced back in a big way, taking three of four at the Battlefield Classic on the weekend of September 8 and 9. Against Catholic in the first match on Friday, senior Natalia Fijalkowski posted 13 kills and hit .370 for the match. She would add 10 more kills in Hopkins' second 3-0 win of the day, this time against Messiah.
Hopkins dropped a 3-1 decision to Elizabethtown to start Saturday's action at the Battlefield Classic before rebounding to defeat Salisbury for the second time this season, this time by a 3-1 mark. Cappelaere was named to the all-tournament team while sophomore Katie Buckheit had 13 digs against Elizabethtown.
The win over Salisbury started a six-match win streak for the Blue Jays. The streak included the team capturing the University of Scranton Tournament and its first Centennial Conference match of the year. Fijalkowski earned all-tournament honors at Scranton. She followed up her strong play at Scranton with a double-double versus Muhlenberg.
Hopkins closed out the non-conference portion of its schedule by participating in the Salisbury Invitational on the weekend of September 21st and 22nd. Facing the host Sea Gulls for the third time this season, Hopkins saw its six-match win streak snapped with a 3-1 loss. The Blue Jays bounced back to defeat New Jersey City in five and the next day picked up two more wins. One of those wins came by a 3-0 score over Gettysburg. It was just Hopkins fourth win all-time against the Bullets. Jackanich earned her second all-tournament team honor of the year.
Entering the heart of the Centennial Conference schedule with a 15-3 record, Hopkins kept things rolling with a 3-0 victory over Dickinson on September 26.
The win over Dickinson set up a first-place showdown between Haverford and Hopkins on September 29. While Haverford got the better of that one with a 3-0 victory, that would be the last time the Blue Jays would taste defeat for a while.
Hopkins began the month of October with a 3-1 win over Gettysburg. It marked the second win over the Bullets for the Blue Jays this season. Junior Adrienne Young tied for the team lead in kills with 13 that night. The win over Gettysburg was the start of a seven-match win streak that would carry the Blue Jays through the regular season finale at Ursinus. Highlighting the stretch for the Blue Jays was a 3-1 win at Franklin & Marshall on October 10. That win over the Diplomats proved to be a record-breaking night for the volleyball program. That night, Lewis recorded 48 assists to break the Hopkins career assists record. Also with the win Pennewill recorded his 99th career victory at Hopkins, breaking the school record for coaching victories.
A 3-0 victory over Washington on October 17, saw the Blue Jays reach 20 wins on the season. It was the third time in five years under Pennewill, Hopkins has reached the mark.
On Senior Night versus McDaniel, the Blue Jays came up big, handing the Green Terror its first conference loss with a 3-1 victory. Lewis had 15 kills and 40 assists in the match as Hopkins moved into a tie for first place in the conference.
While the Blue Jays were able to defeat Ursinus 3-1 in the regular season finale a win by Haverford that day, gave Hopkins the second seed for the Centennial Conference playoffs.
Facing McDaniel for the second time in a week, Hopkins was faced with a truly tough opponent. The Green Terror jumped out to the early lead in the contest, claiming games one and two. The Blue Jays were not done yet as they came storming back to take games three and four. The two teams battled point for point in the decisive fifth game before McDaniel came away with the victory. Fijalkowski had 20 kills and 19 digs in the contest.
Despite, the early exit from the conference playoffs, the Blue Jays were not done yet as Hopkins earned a bid for the ECAC South Volleyball Tournament. The Blue Jays earned the number one seed for the tournament and hosted FDU-Florham in the first round of play.
Hopkins dominated play in the contest in route to a 3-0 victory over the Red Devils. The Blue Jays held FDU-Florham to a .000 hitting percentage in the second game of the match. Cappelaere and Lewis each posted double doubles in the contest.
From there Hopkins advanced to the ECAC semifinals at Carneige Mellon. In that contest, Hopkins wasted little time in dispatching Washington & Jefferson by a 3-0 score. Buckheit contributed 17 digs in the win while Fijalkowski and Cappelaere each posted double doubles.
Hopkins faced a tough Carneige Mellon team in the ECAC South Tournament Final. Hopkins battled back to force a decisive game five before falling 3-2. Sophomore Alex Zenoff posted 18 kills while Buckheit had a career-high 31 digs.
The honors rolled in for the Blue Jays after a successful season. Fijalkowski, Lewis and Jackanich all earned First Team All-Centennial honors for their play. It was the first time in their careers that Fijalkowski and Jackanich had earned All-Centennial honors. Lewis earned first team honors for the first time after being an honorable mention selection the last two years. Fijalkowski and Cappelaere were honored for their work both on the court and in the classroom. Fijalkowski was a Second Team ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District choice while Cappelaere was a third team selection. Jackanich was named American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Region Honorable Mention for the Mid-Atlantic Region.
Pennewill will lose Fijalkowski to graduation next season but returns the rest of his starting line-up and several key players off the bench. Led by returning First Team All-Centennial selections Lewis and Jackanich, the pieces are in place for the Blue Jays to be a contender for the Centennial Conference title next season.