Volleyball keeps streak going with pair of victories

By BRANDON WOLFE | October 12, 2017


HOPKINSSPORTS.COM The Jays have won 16 straight games since September 2.

The Hopkins women’s volleyball team continued their hot streak by winning their 14th and 15th straight matches this weekend against the Washington & Lee University Generals (W&L) and the Muhlenberg College Mules, both in three straight sets.

According to sophomore outside hitter Louisa Kishton, this was an important weekend for the team.

“We got closer to where we want to be in terms of playing together like a team and playing our game how we want to play, no matter who the opponent is,” Kishton said.

The Jays got into the groove right away against the Generals on Friday, going on a quick 5-1 run and forcing W&L to call an early timeout to regroup. Hopkins would continue their strong start and take the set to 14-7 before the Generals began to rally back.

With four straight points to bring the deficit to three, the Generals started to make it a competitive game, bringing the score to a close 14-11 battle. The Generals were not going to let the Jays have the easy win; they continued rallying against the Blue Jays, pushing the set to 19-17, just barely in the Jays’ favor.

However, the Blue Jays had one final push left to give them an edge over the Generals. Kishton gave the Jays four straight points off of her serves and, after a point for the Generals, freshman opposite Morgan Wu and freshman setter Natalie Aston would knock down a Generals hit to win the Jays the first set at 25-19.

Washington & Lee would start the second set off with four consecutive points to notch an early lead at 5-3 before Hopkins answered with two points of their own to tie the set at five.

However, the Generals did not go down without a fight, going point for point with the Jays, eventually taking a 14-12 lead and forcing Head Coach Tim Cole to call a Hopkins timeout.

After the break, the Jays battled back to eventually take the lead at 21-20. With the wind in their sails, the Jays took complete control and carried their momentum to the end of the set, winning 25-23.

The third set was even for much of the beginning before Hopkins would rally for four straight points to take a sizable 13-8 lead against Washington & Lee.

From there, the Jays never looked back and continued to dominate play. Winning the third set 25-16, they beat the Generals in a convincing fashion.

Freshman outside hitter Simone Bliss led the charge for the Jays with 11 kills, with Kishton and senior setter Kristi Rhead contributing seven kills each. Rhead also accounted for 13 assists with Aston recording 16.

The next day, the Jays faced the only other undefeated Centennial Conference team, the Muhlenberg College Mules. The Saturday matchup would be a decisive game for both teams, as each was carrying a win streak of more than 12 games.

The Jays got off to a quick start against the Mules, taking a 10-5 lead and forcing Muhlenberg to call a timeout.

Once the set continued, the Blue Jays simply continued to dominate their competition, cruising to a 25-13 victory.

Much like the first set, the Jays started off the second with a fast start that saw them take a 4-0 lead off of the serve of senior outside hitter Elizabeth Wuerstle. Hopkins would again capitalize on their early lead in a 25-18 second set win.

In the third set, Wuerstle once again took control from the service line with seven straight points, putting the Jays up a quick 7-1 to start. Wuerstle’s strong performance continued throughout the third set, as her back-to-back aces late in the set would tie the team ace record set earlier in the season by Wu — 13 aces in a three-set match — and pushed the Jays to a 25-10 victory.

Kishton led the attack with nine kills, followed by Wuerstle’s seven.

Wuerstle’s strong performance against the Mules added to her impressive resume this season. In the past three matches, Wuerstle racked up 20 aces for the Blue Jays from the service line and leads the Conference with 69 total aces this season. Not to mention, her average of 1.19 aces per set leads NCAA D-III volleyball.

This past Monday, Wuerstle was named the Centennial Conference Volleyball Player of the Week, as she helped push the Jays’ winning streak to 15 matches.

“This weekend was an important weekend for our team” Rhead said. “Morgan Wu had an especially strong weekend; she and our other freshmen really step it up every day.”

Yesterday, the Jays’ extended their win streak to 16, tying the team record with their win against McDaniel College. Likewise, their win streak in Conference games was pushed to 16, two short of the team record of 18.

Hopkins is scheduled to take on the Juniata College Eagles this Friday evening at 7 p.m. in Goldfarb Gym.

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