Volleyball loses first conference match

For The News-Letter

On Saturday, Oct. 3, the Hopkins women’s volleyball team suffered its first loss in the Centennial Conference this season, falling 1-3 to Swarthmore College.

Given that the team has all three other matches in the Conference remaining, this single loss is only a minor setback in their minds. Thus far in Conference matches, the Blue Jays have defeated the Haverford College Black Squirrels, the Muhlenberg College Mules and the Washington College Shorewomen.

The Lady Jays’ record this season fell to 7-9, while Swarthmore’s improved to 13-3, winning its 12th consecutive match.
Sophomore Erica Johnston put on perhaps the strongest display. She tallied up a match-high of 17 kills, nine digs and three service aces. Senior Carolyn Zin, one of the captains, collected 33 assists, 14 of which she achieved in the first set alone.

The Blue Jays dropped the first point of the first set but swooped back to win seven consecutive points to take a decisive 7-1 lead. They kept their momentum going, surpassing Swarthmore by a massive gap of 11 at one point. A kill by the hands of sophomore Kristi Rhead secured the first set for Hopkins.

The second set, the onset of Hopkins’ demise, provided some more drama. Swarthmore took the initial lead by five points right off the bat. The two teams went nearly point-for-point from then on until the set arrived at an 11-6 lead for Swarthmore, at which point Hopkins really fired up the engines and battled back to a 13-all tie.

At the end of the set, however, Swarthmore proved triumphant. The final score of the set was 25-20.

The next set followed a similar storyline, with Swarthmore taking the initial lead in the first two points and maintaining that lead through the end of the set. Swarthmore freshman Malia Scott ended it at 25-19 with a forceful kill.

In the fourth and final set, Swarthmore stole the first eight points to begin their road to victory. Though at one point the scoreboard read 13-1 against Hopkins, the ever-resilient Lady Jays fought back to close the gap a bit but nonetheless fell at 25-19.

“This weekend we showed bursts of our competitive flow and how we mesh as a team,” Zin said. “We were not able to sustain that throughout the match. It’s something we are continually working on in the practice gym. It’s a process. We will see Swarthmore again come the post-season.”

Hopkins now stands at third place in Conference rankings behind only Swarthmore and the Franklin & Marshall College Diplomats. The team is seeking to win the Conference for the fourth time, having accomplished a three-peat from 2011-2013.

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