Twenty-five. Twenty-five wins in a row for Hopkins Volleyball. There are only three instances of a Hopkins team with a longer win streak: 2004 Baseball (33), 2010 Baseball (32) and 1932-1934 Men’s lacrosse (26).
That means it has been almost a decade since a Hopkins team has been this unstoppable.
However, there are still some regular-season matches remaining, possibly two Centennial Conference tournament matches and up to five National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) tournament matches.
So it just so happens that there are 34 possible wins in total for this Jays team.
While they haven’t achieved this yet, they have an opportunity to do something unprecedented.
It would be incredible if this team were to be able to claim to be the best team to ever play at Hopkins.
This weekend the eighth-ranked Blue Jays crushed a Centennial Conference foe, the Ursinus University Bears, winning all three sets (25-14, 25-7, 25-17).
The Jays had an amazingly low five errors across all three sets; Ursinus had 21. They also had 41 kills to the opponent’s 21 kills. On top of that, Ursinus had a zero-percent hitting percentage.
The first set was a combination of kills by outside hitters junior Simone Bliss and senior Louisa Kishton and sophomore opposite hitter Eleni Panagopolous.
After Ursinus got off to a 5-1 start (their longest run of the day), Hopkins went on a 9-1 run of their own and never looked back.
Ursinus did not hold a lead the rest of the set. The trio of hitters ended the match with 12 kills, and junior middle blocker Natalie Aston chipped in 10 assists.
A first set like this has become the norm for Hopkins, and it’s been key in helping them set the tone for their dominating matches.
The second set had near-perfect execution. The Blue Jays had zero errors.
And, after Ursinus evened the score at 2-2 at the beginning of the set, Hopkins went on a 14-kill run.
The scoring for Hopkins came from all over the court in this set.
Seven of the 10 women on the roster registered a point, and everyone else contributed with assists and digs.
On top of the amazing execution, Ursinus continued to shoot themselves in the foot, giving up seven errors in the set and having a negative hitting percentage (they scored on themselves more than they scored against the Jays).
The third set involved a little bit more resistance from Ursinus.
The set was really back-and-forth from the start. Ursinus went ahead and grabbed a quick 2-0 lead.
Then Hopkins marched back to take a 5-2 lead. Ursinus clawed its way back and eventually led 9-8 on the set.
It seemed like Ursinus had finally fixed the problems that plagued their first two sets.
But then Hopkins went on a seven-kill run.
Bliss was at the heart of that run, but the Jays were aided by even mnore errors from Ursinus. As was the case for much of the match, Hopkins simply had to let Ursinus beat themselves.
That’s not meant to diminish what the team did this game, but Ursinus certainly made it easier for the Blue Jays.
There was some back-and-forth the rest of the set, but the match was clearly over, and eventually Hopkins swept Ursinus.
In the end, Kishton had 12 kills to lead the team, junior outside hitter Nicole Hada led with five aces and Aston led with 17 assists. On defense, Bliss led with 12 digs.
Sophomore middle blocker Lauren Anthony commented on the team’s success both against Ursinus and over the season.
“We can attribute our record and low errors to our championship mindset,” Anthony explained. “We approach every game with the same intensity and focus no matter the opponent.”
Behind head coach Matt Troy, the Blue Jays have compiled an absolutely dominant record of 25 matches won, zero lost and only seven sets lost along the way.
Last year, the Jays went to the second round of the NCAA tournament without a coach.
This year they have a familiar face at the helm with Troy back after previously serving as head coach from 2010-12.
In his first stint with the Jays he led them to the most wins in a single season (2012).
This time he might help them reach even higher heights. They may even get an NCAA championship to match their mentality.
Looking ahead, the Jays will face Franklin and Marshall at home in their last regular season game of the year.
It is clear that the team is playoff-bound, but if the team can maintain their undefeated record entering the Centennial Conference tournament, that would certainly be a plus.