BALTIMORE, Md. – The University of Scranton volleyball team (9-7) rallied from a 17-9 deficit in the fourth set to close out Johns Hopkins in a 3-1 win over the Blue Jays (6-6) on Friday night at Goldfarb Gymnasium in Baltimore.
This marked the 10th all-time meeting between the programs and the first since Sept. 15, 2007. The 2019 National Champions, Johns Hopkins has advanced to the Sweet 16 in three of the last four seasons and has qualified for five straight NCAA Tournaments.
Scranton 3, Johns Hopkins 1 (25-21, 20-25, 25-22, 25-22)
The Blue Jays opened up a 17-11 lead in the first set before a service error led to seven straight points from the Royals and junior Stephanie Margolies (Westfield, N.J./Westfield) slammed home a kill for an 18-17 lead. Things were even at 19 apiece in the first set, but Scranton was able to take six of the final eight points in the set including a pair of kills by senior Carah Vitkus (Mahopac, N.Y./Mahopac) to help seal the 25-21 victory.
In the second set, Johns Hopkins took a 14-8 lead and despite a Margolies kill that brought the Royals back within one at 18-17, the hosts were able to close out a 25-20 win and even the match at one set apiece.
The two teams traded points for a majority of the third set when Johns Hopkins recorded four straight points to take a 19-16 lead, but Scranton immediately responded with six of the next seven points to regain the lead at 22-20 and Margolies later closed out the 25-22 win with a kill off of an assist from senior Caileigh Cox (Randolph, N.J./Randolph).
Johns Hopkins quickly raced out to a 9-1 advantage in the fourth set and head coach Jamie Spangler's Royals proved as resilient as ever by taking the next five points to draw within three at 9-6. From there, the Blue Jays took a 12-8 lead and eventually stretched the lead to 17-9 before another five point Scranton run cut the lead to three at 17-14. After consecutive points for the host Blue Jays made it 19-14, a kill from sophomore Sophia Hadjiyane (Huntington, N.Y./John Glenn) kicked off a run of nine straight points for the Royals capped by a Margolies service ace to give the visitors a 22-19 edge for the time being.
Despite Hopkins clawing back within a point at 22-21 and 23-22, Scranton used consecutive block assists to close out the four set victory at 25-22.
Margolies led the Royals' attack with 14 kills on the night, while Hadjiyane added 13 of her own and senior Vitkus chipped in with 10. Cox helped set up the offense all night with 38 assists, marking the eighth time this season that the Randolph, N.J., native has posted 35 or more assists in a match.
Scranton had four players with 11 or more digs in the match as freshman Maddie Forry (Reading, Pa./Exeter Township) had 14 and Vitkus added 13 to go along with 11 apiece from the duo of freshman Camryn Hoffman (Rockville Centre, N.Y./South Side) and sophomore Maddie Orth (Nazareth, Pa./Nazareth).
The Royals also posted an impressive three block solos and 12 block assists in the match behind a block solo and four block assists from Hadjiyane.
Simone Adam paced Johns Hopkins with 17 kills in the setback.
The University of Scranton volleyball team will battle Elizabethtown (1:30 p.m.) and Goucher (6:30 p.m.) in a pair of Landmark Conference matches on Saturday at Goucher.