A storybook season continued for the Johns Hopkins volleyball team, which won three matches over the weekend on its home floor at Goldfarb Gym, all in straight sets, to capture its first-ever regional and advance to the NCAA DIII tournament quarterfinals.
This marks the deepest postseason run in program history for the sixth-ranked Blue Jays (32-0), who also established a new program record for the most wins in a single season. Their 32-match win streak is the longest in the nation.
The national quarterfinals, semifinals, and championship will be held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, beginning Thursday. Quarterfinal matchups will be announced Monday. Complete NCAA DIII volleyball bracket
JHU punched its ticket to Iowa with a 25-20, 28-26, 25-18 sweep of Stevens (22-12) on Sunday afternoon. Junior Simone Bliss, named the regional's most outstanding player, paced the Blue Jays with 17 kills and added 12 digs, Eleni Panagopoulos added 12 kills, and Natalie Aston had 32 assists. All three players were named to the all-tournament team for the eight-team regional hosted by Hopkins.
The first set Sunday featured 14 ties and six lead changes, but the Blue Jays closed on a 5-1 to pick up the win. Set two was also tight, and a 17-17 tie would be the first of seven ties down the stretch. Stevens fought off match-point four times before a Panagopoulos kill and a block by Lauren Anthony sealed the second-set win for the Blue Jays. Stevens led 3-1 in the third set, but JHU soon took command and eventually won the match on a service ace by Anthony.
The win capped a dominant weekend for Hopkins, which cruised past Manhattanville 25-9, 25-9, 25-9 on Friday night, then handled Stockton 25-20, 25-20, 25-16 on Saturday.
Johns Hopkins has won 35 consecutive sets dating back to an Oct. 17 win at Stevenson.