COLLEGEVILLE, Pa. – The Ursinus College volleyball team gave 16th-ranked Johns Hopkins a battle – and a big scare in the second set – in a 3-0 Centennial Conference defeat in Saturday afternoon's long-awaited home opener.
The Bears (5-7, 0-2) made things very interesting against their prolific opponents. The two-time defending champion Blue Jays did not have it all their way, but had enough firepower to post a 25-16, 25-22, 25-14 victory and improve to 26-0 in the all-time series.
Johns Hopkins (7-1, 2-0) won the first five points of the match, signaling a potential rout. But it was not to be, as the Bears came roaring to life with seven of the next nine to knot the set at 7-all. It was still even at 9-9 before the Blue Jays went on a 7-0 run to give themselves some breathing room.
The second stanza was a thriller, a marathon standoff that featured eight ties and four lead changes. Trailing 10-7, freshman Kaitlyn McGinley ran off five straight points on her serve with the help of kills by junior Kelly Piotrowicz and sophomore Hannah Merges to force Hopkins into a timeout. The Bears won the next point and went ahead 15-11 after a kill by Piotrowicz and a Blue Jay error.
Ursinus was ahead as late as 17-15 and pulled into a 20-20 tie with a kill from freshman Olivia DeBonte and a Hopkins miscue. The Blue Jays, however, won the next two points and kept the Bears chasing to a 25-22 decision.
Hopkins made quick work of the third set, going ahead 6-0 and hurdling to the finish line from there.
Sophomore Emily Harris led Ursinus with eight kills, while Piotrowicz added seven in addition to seven assists and seven digs. DeBonte had five digs, while senior Sydney Gonzalez joined Piotrowicz and sophomore Grace Sullivan with two aces.
Louisa Kishton had 14 digs and 13 kills for the Blue Jays, who hit .351 for the match and served 10 aces. Nicole Hada dished out 34 assists and supplemented that with nine digs and four of those aces.
The Bears continue conference play on the road against another nationally ranked opponent in Swarthmore on Tuesday.