BALTIMORE, MD - The Johns Hopkins volleyball team opens up its 2017 campaign on Friday, September 1 against Emory in the Wittenberg National Invitational in Springfield, OH. The Jays, under head coach Tim Cole, had a historic 2016 season, which saw Hopkins finish the season 20-9 with a 10-0 Centennial Conference record. The team won its fourth Centennial Tournament and earned its first NCAA Tournament win over Christopher Newport, which had defeated the Jays earlier in the season.
Cole, who was named the Centennial Coach of the Year last season, welcomes back eight players from last year's squad, including Centennial Player of the Year Elizabeth Wuerstle, Centennial Rookie of the Year Sarah Elnozahy and Centennial Tournament MVP, Louisa Kishton.
Wuerstle led the Centennial in hitting percentage (.296) and was tops on the team in kills (334) and service aces (53). Kristi Rhead will join Wuerstle as the only seniors on this year's squad and the two finished 1-2 in the conference in hitting percentage. Rhead also dished out 347 assists last season, which was second on the team.
The junior class is comprised of Esther Hong, Michelle Abt and Sasha Gorelik. Hong led the team with 383 digs, which is tied for the 18th most in a single season in team history. Abt tallied 108 digs, 30 kills and seven assists last season, while Gorelik recorded 164 kills and 35 services aces.
Elnozahy's freshman season saw her post 659 assists with 31 service aces, 25 blocks, 144 digs and 43 kills. Her 8.99 assists per game rank seventh all-time in a season in team history. Joining Elnozahy as sophomores are Kishton and Hannah Korslund. Kishton recorded a double-double in the Centennial Championship match and finished the season with 12 assists, 146 digs, eight blocks and 10 aces, while Korslund had 41 kills to go along with five solo blocks and 35 block assists.
Welcome to Homewood:
The Jays welcome five freshmen to the team, all who will bring energy and excitement to the team. Rachel DePencier, Nicole Hada, Natalie Aston, Simone Bliss and Morgan Wu will all add depth to the 2017 squad. Cole believes that all five can vie for starting spots, and noted this class has jumped onboard and is ready to compete.
The Jays will open the season in the Wittenberg National Invitational, where they will take on Emory, Illinois Wesleyan and Wittenberg. Hopkins will make its Goldfarb Gym debut on September 15 as the Jays will welcome St. Mary's (MD) to Homewood. The schedule features a home rematch against Swarthmore on October 14. The two teams played in the Centennial Finals last year, with Hopkins coming from two sets down to defeat the Garnet. JHU will also host Washington & Lee, Juniata, Muhlenberg and Franklin & Marshall throughout the season.
By The Numbers:
1- Hopkins is ranked number one in the Centennial Preseason Poll.
11- The Blue Jays swept 11 opponents in 2016.
63 - Career wins for head coach Tim Cole at Hopkins.
9 - Number of matches at Goldfarb gym this season for the Jays.
3 - Number of teams ranked in the NCAA Preseason Poll that Hopkins will face this season.
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