Volleyball Ends Season in a Bittersweet Loss to Johns Hopkins in the Conference Semifinals

By Emma Hladik, Staff Writer

Gettysburg put in their best effort in the Centennial Conference Tournament, winning their first round matchup against Franklin & Marshall, but coming up short in the semifinals on Saturday against top-ranked John Hopkins.  

The Bullets took on the Diplomats of Franklin & Marshall in the first round of the postseason on November 3rd. Both Franklin & Marshall and Gettysburg sat together in the conference standings at seven wins and four losses, so a close contest was expected. However, Gettysburg put on an impressive performance and won in three sets. 

In the first set, the Diplomats had the advantage early with a 10-4 lead. Gettysburg began to battle away, shrinking their opponent’s lead and eventually getting within one point, the score at 22-21. Zanze Kuba-McCoy ’23, who recently was named to the All-Centennial Conference team, struck a crucial kill to cap a 4-0 run by the Bullets, closing out the first set 25-22.

The second set was dominated by the Bullets, hitting .355 in the frame. Sophie Nasir ’25 recorded an ace, and Ingrid Bayer ’22 and Cat Holtz ’25 both tallied blocks to give the Bullets a ten-point advantage, the score at 18-8 late in the set. The Bullets closed the set out 25-10, taking a commanding two set lead with their eyes on victory. 

Kuba-McCoy started the third set with two of her 17 kills during the match, helping the Bullets take an early 5-0 lead. The Diplomats did not give up, though, and kept the score close for the remainder of the set, battling to stay alive and force a fourth set. However, Holtz ended the set and the match with a cross-court kill. The Bullets swept F&M and advanced to the semifinals. 

McCoy highlighted the top performers for the Bullets with seven digs, a .471 attack percentage, and seventeen kills. O’Leary tallied nineteen digs. Nasir recorded thirteen assists, seven digs, and two aces. Finally, Bayer totaled two aces and four blocks. Gettysburg clinched the win with only thirteen errors compared to F&M’s seventeen.  

“A highlight for us was probably the F&M game. We played amazing and won in three straight sets!” Callie Pidoriano ’24 said. “It was an honor for us to be a part of the first team in seven years to make the playoffs and win in the first round.”

After the Bullets ended their five-match losing streak against F&M, they went on to play the top-ranked team in the conference, John Hopkins, on Saturday, November 6th in the semifinals. Even though Hopkins came out on top, the Bullets did not let the undefeated Blue Jays win without a fight. 

John Hopkins held the first-place position in the conference with ten wins and zero losses. They were also undefeated outside of the conference with a 29-0 record.

The Blue Jays won the first set 25-18 but lost the next two, the Bullets grabbing each by scores of 27-25. The Blue Jays responded swiftly, taking the fourth set by a score of 25-9 and the fifth by a score of 15-9. 

In the first set, Pidoriano struck an ace to build the Bullets a 10-6 lead. It was back and forth from there, but after Gettysburg got ahead 17-16, Hopkins scored eight of the next ten points to reach the 25 mark before the Bullets.

The Bullets looked to answer in the second set. Thanks to back-to-back aces from McCoy, the Bullets led 7-3 in the opening minutes. It was a close, competitive match, each team taking turns in the lead. The Blue Jays took the lead 19-16 after an error from the Bullets; however, the Bullets rebounded and scored seven of the next nine points, forcing Hopkins to call two timeouts with hopes of chilling their opponent’s momentum. Kuba-McCoy downed a kill to tie the match 25-all, and she continued with another kill and an ace to clinch the 27-25 win. 

The Blue Jays and Bullets totaled 16 ties in the third set. Jordan Horowitz ’22 and Bayer, each with an ace, helped the Bullets secure another set victory, putting them over the undefeated Blue Jays two sets to one. 

Hopkins took control of the remaining two sets, not allowing the Bullets to maintain their momentum from their consecutive set wins. The Blue Jays cruised to a 25-9 victory in the fourth set and 15-9 in the fifth, advancing past the Bullets three sets to two. The Blue Jays went on to win Sunday, November 7th in the conference finals against Haverford, sweeping them 3-0. 

Kuba-McCoy led the team with 18 kills and four aces. Horowitz added 14 kills and three blocks. Izzy Lugar ’24 tallied seven kills, and Olivia Biggs ’24 recorded five kills and one block.  

“A highlight for me was most definitely the game against Hopkins in the semifinals,” Lugar said. “We showed up and let them know that we can play with them.” 

While the Bullets were unable to make it past the Blue Jays, they were the first Centennial Conference team since F&M in 2018 to take Hopkins to five sets. (Information from Gettysburg College Athletic Communications)

“This team truly made history,” Lugar said. “Not only in making the conference tournament (top 4) for the first time in 10 years, but the whole dynamic of the team was something special. We are blessed to have an amazing group of women and supportive coaches both on and off the court. As a whole, our team grew so much since August and we can only go up from here. I couldn’t be more excited for the next two years I have in this program!”

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Author: Gettysburgian Staff

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