A year ago, Hopkins volleyball played the role of underdog. Although the Blue Jays were picked to finish second in the Centennial Conference preseason coaches’ poll in 2011, Hopkins had never won a Centennial title and was last competing for a league crown in 2004— seven years in the making.
And with just one senior on the team— albeit honorable mention All-American Melissa Cole— the team’s hopes to return to the NCAA tournament hinged on the abilities of 12 freshmen. Lo and behold, the rookies captured the title, leading Hopkins to a 20-5 record.
Now, the rich are getting richer. Alongside the Jays’ bevy of sophomore veterans stands six-foot newcomer Jasmine Warmington. Warmington, an Ontario, CA native, has only been on campus for two weeks, yet she has already captured two tournament MVP awards, a Centennial Conference player of the week honor, and been at the forefront of Hopkins volleyball’s best start in program history at 8-0.
Warmington burst on the scene in her collegiate debut, recording a team-high 14 kills versus Cabrini on September 1. A day later, the right-sider notched 23 kills versus Stevenson, again leading the team. In four Blue Jay wins to start the year— three of which came against NCAA qualifying teams— Warmington had 48 kills.
And just for good measure, the San Gabriel Valley volleyball player of the year as a senior at St. Lucy’s Priory High averaged 10 kills per game this weekend in the Washington and Lee Invitational.
We caught up with Hopkins volleyball’s new force to see what life has been like for the burgeoning star.
N-L: Jasmine, you’ve been on campus just about two weeks, and yet you’ve already wrapped up a number of awards, including Centennial Conference player of the week. With this in mind, how do these awards feel?
JW: It feels great. I’m glad that my team is doing so well, and I’m glad that I’ve been able to help. I hope I can continue to be a big contributor and we continue to win as many games as we have been.
N-L: As a freshman at Hopkins, it’s pretty rare to see someone have such an immediate impact. Did you expect to not only be playing as well as you have early on, but let alone be playing every game so far coming into the season?
JW: Last year, when I was talking to [Head] coach [Matt Troy], he had said that we were losing some players [at my position], so he was pretty confident that I had a chance to play a lot early and contribute. But I had no idea that my playing time would be this big early on and I would have the success I’ve had so far.
N-L: On the court, what have been some of the biggest adjustments you have made to your game since getting to Hopkins?
JW: There are some things that are different here. My coach coaches differently than what I’m used to, and there were a bunch of other things I had to become accustomed to like technical things. For example, knowing when to swing block and when not to swing-block; and defensively, knowing some places that I have to be on the court. They’re things I have to continue to become accustomed to and I think as the season continues, I’ll learn more about these sorts of things.
N-L: What did you do this summer to prepare you for this season?
JW: I’ve been playing club volleyball for the past nine years, and recently in the past two years, I played for Orange County and we’ve been pretty good. The majority of my team went D-I, so I think playing with them and against good competition with them really prepared me for [Hopkins].
N-L: Last year’s team was really young and yet still had a lot of success. Do you feel like having such a young nucleus has helped you adjust to playing in college at all?
JW: It’s really helpful. All the sophomores have been super nice and hospitable and have helped us adjust to college life. They invite us places and they show us around and tell us what to do and what not to do and have really been a great influence on us younger girls so far.
N-L: What do you think this team is capable of?
JW: Hopefully, from what I’ve heard, we can do really well in conferences this year, and we all hope we can advance to the NCAA tournament again and take things one-step further and maybe beyond.
N-L: What are some of your goals for the year?
JW: Looking at some of the things that previous freshmen have done— I’m a really big stats person— I’m trying to keep up with what other opposites [Warmington’s position] have done in the past and just really continue to be a big contributor to the team and hopefully continue to win.
N-L: What brought you to Hopkins?
JW:Hopkins was the perfect balance of academics and athletics for me. I didn’t want a D-I program and lifestyle, and the academics are great here, so for me I was a perfect fit. I love it so far. I was looking at Boston College for a little bit, that was my top choice after Hopkins, but I think I made a great choice coming here.