There is no other word to describe the Hopkins womens’ volleyball team this year than “dominant.” The team started off the season in style, ripping off 15 straight wins, including three invitational tournament championships, with an amazing nine three-set sweeps during that span. Only three times has a team taken them to five sets in 28 total matches.
Senior captain Amelia Thomas has been a vital component to the team’s success. She has proven herself to be a defensive mainstay as one of the best defensive players in the Centennial Conference. Thomas helped extend Hopkins’ current win streak to 5 games in a win over Susquehanna University, leading the Jays once again on defense with 17 digs over the course of the match.
Thomas’ on-court play and overall leadership have led the Blue Jays to a 25-3 record through Tuesday. The News-Letter caught up with her over the weekend as the team gears up for the playoffs to ask her about her performance this season and the team’s play throughout the fall.
N-L: Jasmine Warmington has performed spectacularly for you this year, breaking the record for most kills in a freshman season. Can you speak to her performance and how she's helped the team?
AT: Jasmine has been a great addition to the team — not only performing exceptionally well, but has also been a great contributor to the team chemistry; she brings a great energy and passion to the court during games. Her heavy hitting has greatly helped our offense this year and I think she will only continue to improve.
N-L: You guys had a tough match against Susquehanna, having to come back twice from deficits to pull out the victory. What was the key to staying strong and pulling through?
AT: Susquehanna was a tougher opponent than I think we expected. Luckily, we have experience rallying from deficits (i.e. our St. Mary's game) and if we are in the mindset are great at re-grouping, buckling down and coming out with a win.
N-L: You guys started off the season with 16 straight victories. As a captain, how did you make sure your team maintained this amazing consistency?
AT: Starting off with such a winning streak can pose a great challenge because people can become complacent. I think that did happen to us with a 'mid-season slump' when we played against Stevenson and F&M. But, I tried my best to really regroup and re-rally the team afterwards. We did some team building and revised our goal setting which proved to be really effective.
N-L: The volleyball team has registered an astounding 15 three-set sweeps during the season. What's led to this dominance?
AT: Our dominance is due to the hard work and dedication we put it not only to the sport but to playing for one another. Plus, we just have a stellar group of athletes.
N-L: You've led the team defense, recording 347 digs and 4.18 digs/game, both of which are by far the most on the team. Could you discuss why you've become so good at keeping the ball alive?
AT: I really honed my defensive skills from coaching a 15-year old club team last spring. This is only my second season ever playing Libero, so I had a large learning curve. Coaching, however, helped me comprehend my knowledge of the game more therefore was able to execute it better.
N-L: What does the team need to focus on going forward into the playoffs?
AT: Going into play-offs we need to focus on the fundamentals of our game: ball control and execution. We also need to maintain the passion of playing for each other. With that I think we are a force to be reckoned with.
Led by Thomas, the volleyball team heads into their final game of season this Saturday against Gettysburg. With a win, the Lady Jays will clinch the top spot in the Centennial and earn the right to host the the Conference Tournament.