By MAGGIE SPITZER
For The News-Letter
On Saturday, Oct. 10 the Hopkins women’s volleyball team defeated their Conference opponent the Ursinus College Bears in three straight sets. Afterwards, its second scheduled non-Conference match versus Widener University was cancelled last minute.
After a strong 3-0 start, the Jays dropped three in a row when Ursinius tied the score at threes. At that point the match looked like it might go back and forth for a while. But with a 5-4 advantage, the Jays picked up the energy and intensity to finish on a 20-2 run.
“Our team has been working throughout the season to maintain our competitive flow. We strive for a consistently high level of energy and execution in the practice gym and in matches,” freshman middle blocker and outside hitter Grace Haselhorst said.
After taking that first set 25-6, the Blue Jays went back and forth with the Bears until Ursinius clinched a 14-11 lead.
However, that lead did not last. Hopkins then completed an eight-point run during which Haselhorst recorded five consecutive aces. After the Bears briefly broke the streak, the home team finished off the last three points to secure a 25-16 victory.
Things got interesting in the third set when the Bears fought back, managing to tie the score 11-11 at one point. The Jays then took a 17-14 lead only to have it wiped away by a four-point Ursinius run. The Jays rallied back, winning the last eight points to capture the 25-18 win and complete the three game sweep.
Haselhorst and senior libero and setter Stephanie Yokoyama combined for 11 aces on the afternoon, with six and five in respective sets. Sophomore Elizabeth Wuerstle, the team leader in kills, continued to execute by contributing 12 to the Jay’s offensive effort.
Sophomore Kristi Rhead set the majority of the match and recorded 23 assists to four different hitters. She also tallied five kills of her own on just nine swings.
Yokoyama led the team in digs with seven.
In the loss, the Ursinius Bears drop to 5-12 overall and 0-4 in Conference, while the Jays soar back to a .500 overall record at 9-9.
The Lady Jays now stand at 5-1 in Conference play, holding on to the second position. They rank below only Swarthmore College, who remain undefeated in the Centennial Conference.
In its six conference matches thus far, Hopkins has defeated Washington College, Muhlenberg College, Haverford University, Franklin & Marshall College and Ursinius on Saturday.
The team’s only conference defeat came in a five game set against Swarthmore in the first week of October. Saturday’s match featured a completely new rotation for the team, which has battled injuries all season. With four players sidelined by a variety of knee injuries and two by concussions, the team had to make several adjustments.
“On Saturday, we competed with only six healthy players, and we achieved a positive result despite this adversity, but we are still working towards competing at an even higher level regardless of the circumstances. Saturday was a great opportunity for learning and growth,” Haselhorst said.
With the win, the Blue Jays enter a long, much needed 11-day break. The team will use this time to recuperate, recover and refocus on its upcoming matches.
“This stretch of rest is nice for us both mentally and physically. We always aim to bring our best and this is a nice week for us to improve while not having to worry about playing on the road,” senior setter Carolyn Zin said.
In addition to four non-Conference competitions (against Lycoming College, Christopher Newport University, SUNY- Cortland and Susquehanna University) the Lady Jays will finish up their Centennial Conference contests in the course of the month. Hopkins will face familiar foes in Dickinson, Bryn Mawr, McDaniel College and Gettysburg Colleges before setting their eyes on post-season play.
After the break, the prepared and rested Jays will take the court in the Goldfarb Gym on Wednesday, Oct. 21 at 7 p.m. to face the Dickinson Red Devils.