Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 19, 2024

Volleyball cruises to wins over Haverford College and Arcadia University

By ERIC LYNCH | October 8, 2021

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COURTESY OF HOPKINSSPORTS.COM

After two victories this past weekend, the Jays have extended their win streak to 49 wins.

The women’s volleyball team traveled to Haverford, Pa. to play a pair of games this past weekend. After winning 47 consecutive games going back to previous seasons, the Blue Jays were expecting to keep the win streak alive.

Graduate student opposite Sydney Portale, who joined the team this year, shared her thoughts in an interview with The News-Letter on the team’s win streak.

“The only time we are conscious of the ‘win streak’ is when it is included in the subtitle of the postgame articles,” she said. “We know that the process of achieving our goals doesn’t involve the standing streak, so we never talk about extending it or protecting it. On the same lines as being a new face in the gym, I can’t claim the first 35 games of that streak, so I just like to focus on the next game ahead of us.”

In the first game, Hopkins faced off against the Haverford College Fords, a Centennial Conference rival. The game started off well for the Blue Jays, getting off to an early 4-1 start in the first set. Portale had two of the first four Hopkins points. Later in the set, the score was tied 5-5, but kills from senior setter Natalie Aston, sophomore outside hitter Danielle Norman and senior middle Eleni Panagopoulos helped Hopkins pull away. 

A six-point run from Haverford brought the score to 18-16 in the Jays’ favor, and a few points later, Haverford was winning 20-19. A kill by senior outside hitter Elayna Williams tied the game, and Hopkins scored the next five points, winning the set. 

The second set was all Hopkins. The score was 13-0 before Haverford took a timeout to talk things over. Afterward, Hopkins scored again right away. Haverford got their first point, but only because of a Hopkins error. In the end, this set was over before it started, and the Blue Jays won it 25-7.

The third set was much tighter. Haverford scored the first point, and midway through, the score was tied at 15-15. Senior middle Lauren Anthony, Williams and Portale all scored in a run that gave Hopkins a comfortable lead. The last Fords point brought the score to 22-18, but Hopkins scored three consecutive points, ending on a block from Panagopoulos and Aston and winning the game.

Portale led the team with a whopping 13 kills. Aston came away with 26 assists, seven aces, two blocks, and four block assists. 

Portale discussed her contributions to the team.

“It means so much to just be a part of this team,” she said. “This program has one of the most supportive, welcoming and open cultures I have ever been a part of, and it speaks volumes to the character of these women. Being a new face in the gym, it means the world to me to have the team be supportive and excited about my being here. With the level of talent in our gym, I am just excited to be able to contribute however I can!”

After a successful beginning to the day, Hopkins turned to their game against the Arcadia University Knights. The Blue Jays were hoping for an easier opponent, as the Knights had been sitting near a .500 record. But the Knights were not going to sit and watch this historic Hopkins team take another win. 

Scoring the first point of the game, Arcadia forced the Blue Jays to respond. Kills from Norman and Panagopoulos and an ace from Aston put Hopkins ahead. Still, Arcadia went on a seven-point run and found themselves on top 11-6. 

A kill from Portale tried to reverse the momentum, but the set stayed tight. Hopkins was in the lead 19-18, and they made the most of the opportunity. A kill from Williams started the final run, and a kill from Anthony finished it off as Hopkins took the first set 25-20.

The second set started off with a similar level of competition. The score was 7-5 in the Jays’ favor early on. But Hopkins scored 10 consecutive points, giving them a dominant lead. The run featured three kills from Norman. The set ended soon after at 25-11. 

Hopkins only needed one more set to end their weekend on a high note. An early run featuring two kills from freshman outside hitter Roxy Karrer put the Blue Jays on top early. Later, a Karrer ace brought the score to 10-6. After a series of back-and-forth scoring, Hopkins was up 20-15. As usual, the team closed the game out solidly. The final run featured a kill and two aces from Karrer, as they took the set 24-15. Norman led the team with 9 kills. Aston again led with 23 assists.

And just like that, the Blue Jays’ win streak has been extended to 49 games. This historic Hopkins team has consistently dominated their opponents, and they are certainly not slowing down.

Portale looked ahead toward the rest of the season. 

“As a team, we want to keep seeing the consistent growth that we have thus far,” she said. “We constantly talk about the immense growth since day one of preseason, and it’s a daily goal to elevate the gym every practice and every game. As for personal goals, I want to keep making the most of my final year with this group. I have had the most incredible experience so far, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of this season making more memories with the team.”

The team will look to continue winning in a set of games against the Salisbury University Sea Gulls and the Carnegie Mellon University Tartans this coming weekend back home at Goldfarb Gym.


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