09/12/132013 Gio Memorial
11/29/12JHU vs Hood (10/6/12)
Aug. 30, 2012
BALTIMORE, MD -- A sense of youthful exuberance flows through the air of Goldfarb Gymnasium as the Johns Hopkins volleyball team eagerly prepares for the 2012 season. The excitement is well-conceived - reigning Centennial Conference Coach of the Year, Matt Troy, returns 14 players to a squad that appeared in the NCAA tournament for the first time in the program's 28-year history.
Following an unprecedented run to the 2011 Centennial Conference crown in which seven freshmen played at least 27 matches for the Blue Jays, Troy has continued his youth movement. Boasting just four upperclassmen, the third-year coach added six talented freshmen to his incredible 10-woman sophomore class.
While the 2011 season was highly successful, the Blue Jays are far from satisfied. Unanimously favored to win the Centennial title again in 2012, the implementation of a faster and more dynamic offense could advance Hopkins even further in the NCAA tournament this season.
Key to Hopkins' success will be returning All-American Meagan Donohoe. The sophomore played right side for the Blue Jays as a freshman, but will be counted on to help replace All-American Melissa Cole at outside hitter in 2012. Possessing a powerful attack that puts pressure on defenses, Donohoe led the team in kills (267) and hitting percentage (0.321) last season.
Sophomore Katie Schwarz also returns at outside hitter, providing great all-around skills and athleticism. In 2011, Schwarz was second on the team in kills (241) and service aces (37) and earned conference player of the week honors.
Sophomores Kim Bronson and Ellen Rogers return as middle hitters after strong rookie seasons. Bronson has greatly improved her offense to match her strong blocking ability, while Rogers will be a viable attack option in the middle. The pair finished first and second on the team in blocks in 2011.
A fantastic position battle amongst strong players at right side has emerged in the preseason. Sophomore Megan Schwarz's ball control ability led to a starting role in 2011, but freshman Jasmine Warmington has proven to be an intimidating force both offensively and defensively in preseason. The six-foot Warmington helped lead her school to the California state semifinals as a junior and senior.
Also challenging for the starting spot is Megan Cohan. The sophomore worked hard in the offseason to improve her vertical, and has the ability to make a powerful impact when firing on all cylinders.
The Blue Jays possess a pair of experienced setters that will set up the offensive attack well in 2012. Mariel Metalios is set to build on an excellent freshman season in which she used quick and energetic play to lead the team in assists (632) and service aces (41). Also returning is senior captain Becky Paynter, whose 2,011 career assists rank fifth all-time in program history.
Freshman Carolyn Zin could find herself challenging for a starting spot at setter, as well. The San Diego native sat out as a senior due to injury, but has great hands.
Anne Cohen led the team in digs (321) last season. The sophomore has a tremendous ability to read hitters and was the team's top serve receive passer in 2011.
The team's vocal leader Amelia Thomas will also challenge for a spot at libero. The senior captain is highly regarded by coaches and teammates for her leadership and is key to a strong season for the Blue Jays.
Hopkins opens its 2012 schedule this weekend in the Greg "Gio" Giovanazzi Memorial Tournament at Goucher College. The Jays play Cabrini and Goucher on Saturday, September 1 and Hiram the following day. The squad opens conference play at Muhlenberg on September 21.