Junior outside hitter Louisa Kishton and the Blue Jays are undefeated.
Saturday was a very busy day for the No. 14 Hopkins volleyball team, not only playing a doubleheader and opening up Centennial Conference play, but also playing in two separate locations. The team first went up against the Owls from Bryn Mawr College before travelling 18 miles to Ursinus College to take on the Bears.
If there was any fatigue among the Blue Jays, they clearly were not affected by it. All it took were six sets for Hopkins to win its 23rd and 24th straight Centennial regular season matches to improve to 7-0 on the season.
Hopkins would set the tone right away in the opening set against Bryn Mawr, jumping out to a commanding 11-2 lead.
Sophomore opposite hitter Morgan Wu would continue the trend of dominance as, led by her serves, the Blue Jays would score nine consecutive points to put the score at 21-3. Despite some late-set momentum from the Owls, Hopkins would take the first set in convincing fashion, 25-7.
Bryn Mawr would get some energy in the second set, scoring the first three points to take their first lead of the match, but Hopkins would quickly even the score at 3-3. The two teams would continually battle back-and-forth, tying at seven and at 10, before freshman middle blocker and opposite hitter Eleni Panagopoulos paved the way for six straight Blue Jay points off her serve. With the momentum back on their side, Hopkins would not look back, as they took the second set with a score of 25-13.
Riding the wave from the first two sets, Hopkins forced Bryn Mawr to use a time-out after taking a commanding 9-2 lead early in what would prove to be the last set.
The Blue Jays continued to put the pressure on the Owls even after the time-out, extending their lead to 14-5 and ultimately capturing the final set by a score of 25-12.
The victory was Hopkins’ 20th straight against Bryn Mawr, as well as a continuation of their sweep streak against the Owls, whom they have not dropped a set to since 2006.
Outside hitters junior Louisa Kishton and freshman Simone Bliss led the Blue Jays in kills, contributing 10 and eight, respectively. Kishton also had 16 digs to record a double-double in the match. The two received plenty of help from sophomore setter Nicole Hada, who led the team with 35 assists.
“We definitely played the way we want to play, with intensity and good energy and engagement at certain moments over the weekend,” Kishton said.
Traveling to Ursinus for their second match of the day, Hopkins stayed hot and once again captured the match in three straight sets.
The Blue Jays would get off to a roaring start right off of the bus in Collegeville, taking the first six points of the match. Ursinus would not be affected by the initial momentum of Hopkins and rebounded with seven of the next eight points to tie the match at 7-7.
While the Bears refused to go down without a fight, Hopkins would once again fire back. Kishton buried back-to-back kills and Panagopoulos followed with two straight aces to put the momentum back in the hands of the Blue Jays.
They would continue to ride this momentum all the way to the 25th point, taking the first set by a score of 25-16.
The second set would follow a similar trend, with the Bears and the Blue Jays getting knotted up at seven. Ursinus would take the lead 15-11, but Hada and Kishton scored straight kills, as the resilient Hopkins squad battled back and took the lead 18-17. They eventually captured the set by a three-point margin at 25-22.
In the final set, the Blue Jays would continue their trend of hot starts and went up 6-0 before Ursinus even knew what hit them. Hopkins continued to get the better of Ursinus, at one point going up 10 points 20-10, before finally finishing off the Bears in their second match of the day, 25-14.
Kishton would record her second double-double of the day, recording 13 kills and 14 digs and receiving the Centennial Conference Player of the Week honor for her performances.
Bliss and Panagopoulos contributed seven and six kills apiece, and freshman middle blocker Lauren Anthony put up five. Hada once again led the team in assists with 34. With the victory, the Blue Jays improved to 27-0 all time against Ursinus.
Even with the convincing victories, the Blue Jays will look to continue improving as the season progresses.
“We really need to work at making that level of play more consistent. We are looking forward to implementing that and working on keeping that energy in practices and games in the upcoming week.”
Hopkins will next be in action Friday, Sept. 21 when they travel to Eastern University to take on the Eagles at 7 p.m.