NEWTON, Mass – All season long the Johnson & Wales University men's volleyball team has been on the verge of upsetting a ranked opponent. Sixth-ranked Wentworth just got by the Wildcats, 3-2 (33-31, 16-25, 29-27, 19-25, 11-15), but JWU rebounded to beat host Mount Ida, 3-0 (25-15, 25-17, 25-11) on Saturday.
Johnson & Wales: 15-13, 4-5 GNAC
Kanila Chang (JW): 21 kills, 5 digs vs. Wentworth / 6 kills vs. MIC
Kyle MacKnight (JWU): 17 kills, 13 digs
Cameron Ponce (JWU): 51 assists, 14 digs vs. Wentworth / 9 kills, 17 assists vs. MIC
Freshman Matt McCarthy (Millis, Mass.) tied a back-and-forth first set at 31-31 with a kill. Two Wentworth hitting errors gave the Wildcats the first set. After dropping the second set, JWU found itself down 19-14 in the third. The Wildcats battled back to tie the set and took a 27-26 lead on a kill by Kyle MacKnight (East Northport, NY). Another WC hitting error put JWU up 28-27 then Matt LaVasseur (Salem, NH) killed finished the set.
Setting his career-high was Kanila Chang (Orlando, Fla.) with a team-high 21 kills. MacKnight recorded a double-double with 17 kills and 13 digs. Also getting a double-double was Cameron Ponce (San Jose, Calif.) at 51 assists and 14 digs.
Mount Ida pulled within 12-9 in the first set before Chang rattled off five-straight points to help JWU to the first-set victory. The Wildcats had a 16-13 lead in second frame, but went on a 9-4 run to finish off the set. Serving runs by Josh Pitzer (North Kingstown, RI) and Jason Rhee (Aurora, Colo.) staked JWU to an 18-5 lead in the final set.
Ponce just missed his second double-double with nine kills and 17 assists. Chang and rookie Michael Foglia (Wayne, NJ) were next with six kills each. JWU's defense, which had the edge for blocks (8-2) and digs (30-22), helped the Wildcats to a .303 to -.100 hitting advantage.
Johnson & Wales takes on Emerson at home on Tuesday at 7 p.m.