BALTIMORE, MD – The Johns Hopkins volleyball team went 20-9 and captured its fourth Centennial Conference title in 2016. Here’s a look at the Blue Jays’ season.
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS
Hopkins earned its fourth Centennial Conference Championship title, winning the final three sets to defeat Swarthmore, 3-2. The Blue Jays went undefeated against conference opponents in 2016, posting a perfect 10-0 mark during the regular season before topping Muhlenberg and Swarthmore as the host of the Centennial Conference Tournament. Freshman Louisa Kishton was named the 2016 Centennial Conference Tournament MVP for her breakout performance, including 20 kills and 20 digs in the championship match. This is just the second time Hopkins earned a perfect record in the Centennial Conference; the Blue Jays also went 10-0 in 2011, the first year JHU won the Centennial Conference Crown.
Johns Hopkins earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with the Centennial Conference Championship victory. The Blue Jays traveled to Frederick, VA, to take on Christopher Newport in a rematch of a regular season match they dropped, 3-1. Hopkins stepped up to the challenge in its first appearance back at the NCAA Tournament since 2013, earning the program’s first NCAA Tournament win with a 3-1 victory over the Captains. In the NCAA Second Round, the Blue Jays met another team they had faced during the regular season: Juniata. Johns Hopkins concluded its season with a 3-1 loss to the Eagles. The Blue Jays finished 2016 with a 20-9 record, their best record since 2012.
HITTING THE SPOT
The Blue Jays proved to be accurate attackers in 2016 with a .236 team hitting percentage. Johns Hopkins ranked 24th in the country and led the Centennial Conference in the category. Junior Elizabeth Wuerstle earned the top spot in the Centennial Conference with a .296 hitting percentage. Wuerstle was also a threat from the service line with 53 service aces on the season in addition to her 334 kills, ranking 64th among all DIII players in points per set (4.21).
Johns Hopkins captured all three Centennial Conference awards for the first time in program history. Outside hitter Elizabeth Wuerstle was named the Centennial Player of the Year, setter Sarah Elnozahy earned Centennial Rookie of the Year honors and head coach Tim Cole was named the Centennial Coach of the Year for the Blue Jays’ phenomenal 2016 season.
Wuerstle became the fourth Blue Jay to earn Centennial Player of the Year honors and first since 2012. The junior was a unanimous selection to the All-Centennial First Team after leading Johns Hopkins in hitting percentage (.296), kills (334) and service aces (53). Wuerstle also became the fifth Blue Jay to receive AVCA All-America Honorable Mention honors and earned a spot on the AVCA North All-Region and ECAC All-Star teams.
Elnozahy was named the Centennial Rookie of the Year and earned a spot on the All-Centennial Second Team for her standout freshman campaign. She served as JHU’s primary setter with 659 assists and contributed 31 service aces, 25 blocks, 144 digs and 43 kills.
Senior Ally Hirsch was also selected to the All-Centennial Second Team as a right-side hitter. Hirsch produced the second most kills on the team with 234 and added 42 blocks.
Cole was named the Centennial Coach of the Year after guiding the Blue Jays to an undefeated 10-0 run in conference regular season play. Cole also helped Hopkins to its fourth Centennial Conference Championship title, its first since his first season at the helm in 2013. With the Centennial victory, the Blue Jays earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament, where Cole guided them to the first NCAA Tournament win in program history. Cole was also named the ECAC Division III South Women’s Volleyball Coach of the Year for his role in JHU’s success in 2016.
IT’S ALL ACADEMIC
Senior Ally Hirsch was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District II Volleyball Team for the second time in her career. As the lone Blue Jay senior, Hirsch ranked second on the team in kills with 234 as one of three players to appear in all 29 matches for Hopkins. An economics major with minors in psychology and marketing and communications, Hirsch holds a 3.75 cumulative GPA. Off the court, Hirsch has held multiple internships in her home of Los Angeles in addition to her many activities on the Johns Hopkins campus. Hirsch created the “Be Well – Do Well – Live Well” mental health and wellness task force at JHU. She is also a facilitator for One Love and volunteer for the Johns Hopkins mentoring program in partnership with Afya Baltimore and Johns Hopkins Global Brigades. Hirsch is a member of the JHU Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and Kappa Kappa Gamma.
BY THE NUMBERS
0.236 – Blue Jays’ hitting percentage
1 – NCAA Tournament win
1 – AVCA All-American
1 – CoSIDA Academic All-District Selection
1 – ECAC South Coach of the Year
3 – Centennial Conference annual award winners
10 – Centennial Conference regular season wins
11 – Three-set victories
24 – Johns Hopkins ranking in hitting percentage
63 – Career wins for head coach Tim Cole