PROVIDENCE, RI– A tight second set went the way of visiting North Central and that propelled the Cardinals to victory on Saturday. The Johnson & Wales University men's volleyball team dropped its season opener 3-0 (25-21, 30-28, 25-15).
North Central: 1-1
Johnson & Wales: 0-1
JWU went up 24-23 in the second set on a Brendan Baker (Providence, RI) kill, but the Cardinals won the next two points to take the lead, 25-24. The Wildcats fended off three set points before a JWU error then a North Central block gave NC the second set, 30-28.
Baker led all players with a match-high 13 kills. He added five digs and a block. Setter Cameron Ponce (San Jose, Calif.) notched a match-high 28 assists and just missed a double-double with his team-high nine digs. Kanila Chang (Orlando, Fla.) added eight kills while Matt LaVasseur (Salem, NH) had five kills and a team-best three blocks.
The Cardinals were led by Nick Lilley, who posted an 11-kill, 11-dig double-double as well as six blocks. North Central had an 8.5-4 blocking advantage and out-hit the Wildcats, .309-to-.145. JWU had the edge, 36-27, for digs.
Johnson & Wales is back in action next weekend when it hosts the JWU Invitational, January 28-29.