The Emory volleyball team's bid to repeat as national championship fell short on Saturday as the Eagles fell to Johns Hopkins in the title match. The Blue Jays of JHU capped off a perfect 35-0 campaign following a 3-0 (25-23, 25-22, 25-18) decision over Emory who wrapped up the year at 34-3. The NCAA Championship was held at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Johns Hopkins finished the evening hitting .361 (42-7—97), the second-highest opponent mark against Emory this year, while the Eagles turned in a mark of .227 (42-17—110). The Eagles held a slim 41-39 advantage in digs, with senior Elyse Thompson leading the cause with nine, while JHU posted an 8-1 edge in total blocks.
Sophomore Tara Martin was the lone Emory player to finish with double-figure kills, finishing with 10 successful attack attempts en route to hitting .292 (10-3—24). Senior Morgan McKnight and junior Leah Saunders each chipped in nine terminations while junior Maggie Rimmel totaled eight put-aways. Freshman Cassie Srb dished out 32 assists and added five kills and five digs.
In the opening set, the Eagles saw the Blue Jays score the first five points of the match, and still trailed by a 10-5 margin before tallying four straight points, keyed by a pair of kills from Martin to draw to within 10-9. A 4-1 run by Emory allowed it to claim a 15-14 edge, with the score eventually being tied at 19-19 following a kill by Srb. The Eagles and Blue Jays then traded 3-0 spurts before a kill by Eleni Panagopoulos followed by an Emory hitting miscue put JHU one point from taking a 1-0 lead in the match. A kill by McKnight kept Emory alive but a successful swing by Simone Bliss, one of her 21 on the evening, finished the game off. Emory hit .263 (15-5—38) in the first game while JHU finished at .258 (13-5—31).
In the second set, a 5-1 Emory burst that saw McKnight, Martin and Saunders all finish with terminations, boosted it to 15-12 advantage. A kill by Rimmel kept the Eagles ahead, 17-13, but the Blue Jays countered by scoring six of the set's next seven point to move ahead, 19-18. After a Martin kill knotted the score, JHU went up by a 23-21 count following an Emory attack error. The Eagles drew to within one following a service error, but the Blue Jays came through with the final two points to move to a 2-0 lead in the match.
Tied at 6-6 in the third game, JHU went on an 8-2 surge, sparked by three kills by Bliss, to take a 14-8 cushion. The Blue Jays kept Emory at bay and inched closer to the win after block assists by Natalie Aston and Lauren Anthony put JHU up by an 18-12 margin. A Rimmel kill and service ace by Thompson sliced the gap to four points, but the Blue Jays responded with a 5-2 run that put it two points shy of winning the crown, which would come via a kill by Louisa Kishton.
Tara Martin and Leah Saunders were the Emory representatives on the All-Championship Team.
Emory Press Conference