Johns Hopkins Bounces Mustangs From NCAA Tournament

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Johns Hopkins University avenged a loss earlier in the season to Stevenson University and posted a 3-1 victory over the Mustangs in the second round of the NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball Championship Saturday night at Owings Mills Gymnasium.  Set scores were 25-21, 25-19, 19-25, 25-16.

Johns Hopkins (26-3) advances to Sunday's regional final where it will face a familiar foe in Centennial Conference conference-mate Swarthmore, a 3-0 upset winner over Carnegie Mellon in Saturday's first semifinal.  The Blue Jays took both meetings this season.

Stevenson (33-2) saw its 21-match win streak snapped, as well as a 24 match win streak at Owings Mills Gymnasium.

After falling behind 2-0, the Mustangs jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the third set following a kill by junior Moriah Savage.  Stevenson led 22-13 when the Blue Jays ran off five straight points to pull within 22-18, forcing the hosts to call timeout.  A block by senior Lauren Weaver and junior Chelsea Ireland stopped the run, and the set ended on a Hopkins service error.

The Mustangs were down 10-9 in the fourth following a Savage kill when Johns Hopkins rattled off nine straight points capped by back-to-back blocks by Kristi Rhead.  A kill by sophomore Victoria Prokic halted the run, and Stevenson was able to pull within 23-16 following a kill by senior Annika Schwartz, but back-to-back kills ended the match.

Johns Hopkins clung to an 18-17 lead in the first set when it used a 4-2 run to build a 23-19 lead.  Stevenson cut the lead to three twice, but a Mustang attack error ended the first frame.  Stevenson was down 10-9 in the second set when a 6-1 Blue Jay run gave the guests a 16-10 lead.  Trailing 24-16, the Mustangs ran off three straight points with sophomore Julie Nightwine serving, taking advantage of a Katie Leftridge kill and back-to-back Hopkins attack errors, but a Blue Jay kill put the guests up 2-0.

Schwartz totaled 10 kills and 11 digs in the final match of her decorated Mustang career, while Savage, Weaver and Prokic all notched six kills apiece.  Savage also registered six blocks (three solo), while Weaver had three and Prokic two.  Senior Deanna Bradbury posted 56 digs, while Nightwine finished with 17 assists and 11 digs.  Sophomore Caroline Dangel added 14 assists.

Johns Hopkins hit .252 as a team and held the Mustangs to just .141 hitting, its lowest since their only other loss this season against Carnegie Mellon.  Stevenson did finish with nine blocks, but did not record a service ace for the first time all season.  Johns Hopkins had eight aces, but 17 service errors.

Stevenson was making its seventh straight NCAA appearance and hosting an NCAA regional for the first time.