BALTIMORE - The Haverford College volleyball team (23-5) was upended by No. 1 Johns Hopkins (29-0) in the Centennial Conference Championship on Sunday afternoon at Goldfarb Gymnasium. The host Blue Jays extended their NCAA Division III record winning streak to 64 consecutive matches with the victory, earning the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
Kendall Otridge (8 kills) and Dina Kosyagin (6 kills) paced Haverford offensively while Taylor Jones notched five kills and four total blocks, including two solo stoppages. Sara Hunsberger added 19 assists in the match. Juliet Young continued her impressive season with nine digs and a service ace.
In the opening set, first years Taylor Jones and Jadyn Elliott made strong plays in the middle to give Haverford a boost out of the gates, but the Fords called for timeout with the Blue Jays jetting out to a 12-6 lead behind strong play from Sydney Portale and Danielle Norman on the outside. Another Haverford timeout came at 18-8 as Hopkins opened things up with a 5-1 run behind Simone Bliss and Natalie Aston, eventually taking the 25-10 win.
The second stanza saw the Fords ride some early momentum to a 4-4 tie, with Hunsberger establishing an offensive rhythm with great passing in the stretch. Back-to-back blocks from Elliott and Hunsberger gave Haverford a 9-8 lead before a 5-0 Hopkins run established a 13-9 advantage for the hosts. The Blue Jays run extended to 10-2, prompting a Haverford timeout with the hosts holding an 18-11 lead. A Portale service ace and a Lauren Anthony kill made the score 20-12 in favor of the Blue Jays, and the gap was too big for the Fords to make up despite kills from Otridge and Holland, as JHU took the second set by a 25-16 final.
In the third, JHU sprinted out on a 9-2 spurt, but Taylor Jones found the floor to end the streak. Haverford called for timeout down 11-3, as Anthony and Portale frustrated the Haverford defense finding open spots on the floor for the Jays in succession. Hunsberger responded with a setter dump, but the lead reached 17-4 leading to another Fords timeout. Haverford looked strong down the stretch with kills from Otridge and an ace from Young ahead of Elliott and Jones teaming up on a block. Haverford fended off match point three times in the final moments, but the Blue Jays clinched the match at 25-15.
Haverford was making its first Centennial Conference final appearance since the 2015 season and sixth appearance overall in the title game. The Fords have reached the postseason in 18 of the last 21 seasons.
The Fords will now await to see if they have earned an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament as the Fords are looking to return to the national tournament for the first time since the 2014 campaign. The selection show is slated for Monday, November 8 at 12:30 p.m. and can be viewed via NCAA.com
Fans are encouraged to follow @HCFords_Sports on Twitter and @HCFordsSports on Instagram for the latest updates on potential postseason action.