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Blue Jays win Centennial volleyball title

hopkins-volleyball-championship

Improbably, the top-seeded Johns Hopkins volleyball team came back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat second-seeded Swarthmore to win the Centennial Conference Championship. The Blue Jays went completely undefeated through both the regular season and postseason against conference opponents. On Sunday they were caught in a battle but defeated the Garnet 24-26, 28-30, 25-22, 25-17, 15-10.

Tournament MVP Louisa Kishton had a monstrous 20-kill, 20-dig performance to lead the team to a .262 to .123 hitting advantage. The Blue Jays had 68 kills in the match. Joining Kishton with tremendous hitting performances were Elizabeth Wuerstle and Ally Hirsch each with 17 kills. Wuerstle also had an impressive double-double with 16 digs and led the Blue Jays with a .333 hitting percentage.

The Garnett worked their way out to a 7-1 lead and held an advantage in the opening set until Wuerstle tied the match with a kill to make it 18-18. The team went back-and-forth for five more ties before Swarthmore won the set. The Blue Jays had 18 kills but Swarthmore wasn’t far behind at 16 and had three aces to help them get ahead.

The second set once again required extra point with Swarthmore earning the set victory. There were 13 ties in the set. The Blue Jays let 14-9 before the Garnet mounted a comeback. Kishton has six kills in the second set and the Blue Jays had four aces, but their .170 hitting in the set was the worst they clipped in the match. Swarthmore had 16 kills in the set.

While losing two tough sets would be enough to sent most teams to a sweep, the Blue Jays proved their championship accolades with three-set victories with no room for error.

JHU was down 10-9 but a kill by Wuerstle sparked a 7-1 run to push the Blue Jays out to a 16-11 lead.JHU continued to push forward out to a 20-14 lead. Swarthmore fought back, but Kishton and Wuerstle continued to get big kills to keep the Blue Jays ahead. A kill by Wuerstle set the Blue Jays up for set point at 24-19. Swarthmore rallied back with five-straight points, but the Blue Jays were able to get the 25th point to continue the match.

JHU never trailed in the fourth set as they hit .300 and held the Garnet to .000.

While the Blue Jays never trailed, the Garnet still kept the match close. A kill by Kehra den Braven made it an 11-9 score, but the Blue Jays created some space with a 6-2 run to get ahead 17-11 lead. And they continued to push forward to a 23-15 advantage. Swarthmore scored two points in a row but the Blue Jays closed out the set to tie the match, forcing a decisive fifth set.

And once they got into that final set, the Blue Jays stormed out to a massive lead with the first six points. The Garnet scored five of the next seven points and got within three points, but the Blue Jays continued their dominance, out-hitting Swarthmore .212 to .077 to win the match and the Centennial Championship.

The Blue Jays earned their fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in six years and first appearance since 2013 with the conference championship. They will find out their NCAA Tournament opponent on Monday at 12:30 pm when the NCAA selection show takes place on NCAA.com.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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