Volleyball takes 2nd place - Strong showings by Payne, Baydala and Miller lead team to win

By Justin Kosoris | September 27, 2001

The Lady Blue Jays Volleyball team played very well over the past weekend, earning second place at the Franklin & Marshall Tournament. Despite not having played for nearly two weeks, the Jays came out strong on Saturday, posting two early victories in the first round before faltering in the final against the home team.

The opener, a first-round match against Pittsburgh-Bradford, was hotly contested by both sides, with the match going to the maximum five games. Senior outside hitter Emily Miller proved to be the deciding factor, posting a team-high 19 kills, as well as 13 digs and four aces. Miller would go on to earn her second consecutive all-tournament selection, totaling 44 kills and 70 digs, a very impressive performance in just three matches.

The second match of the day, also a first rounder, found the Jays fighting off Messiah in five close games before finally winning the last game 15-13 to take the match and advance to the championship.

Individual performances by Miller, junior middle Sarah Payne and freshman setter Betsy Baydala set the tone for the Jays. Payne had a team-high 15 kills with a single error, while Baydala posted 26 digs and 34 assists, which, added to Miller's 11 kills and 27 digs, helped to seal the victory.

The championship match against host team Franklin & Marshall was played in four close games, but Franklin & Marshall edged the Blue Jays by a 3-1 margin to win the match and the tournament. Miller once again led the team with 14 kills and 30 digs.

Junior middle Elisabeth Breese also fared well, posting 11 kills, while freshman opposite Erin Trish, in her debut tournament, posted 22 digs. She finished the day with 45 digs, eight blocks and seven kills.

Hopkins improved to 6-8 on the season, and continues to improve with every match, thanks to senior leadership and a strong pool of talented freshmen who can step up and contribute despite having no previous experience at the college level. The team chemistry is also very good, even with the large number of freshmen on the team.

"Although there are as many freshmen as upperclassmen," freshman hitter Cat Albright said, "the upperclassmen have been very supportive of us, from showing us around campus to teaching us the volleyball skills that they have gained over the years."

Hopkins can conceivably venture into the positive on the win column if their recent success continues this week. The home opener for the Lady Blue Jays was Sept. 26 against Villa Julie, followed by two home games on Saturday, Sept. 29 against Muhlenberg and Swarthmore.

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