WINTHROP, Mass – With a strong core of underclassmen, the Johnson & Wales University men's volleyball team should be able to continue the success it had this season. Three players that were a key part of that nucleus were recognized with All-GNAC selections as announced by the league office.
Sophomore Cameron Ponce (San Jose, Calif.) was a Second-Team All-GNAC selection for the second year in a row. Earning the first all-conference accolades of their career were junior Kanila Chang (Orlando, Fla.) and sophomore Donovan Kelley (Encinitas, Calif.) as they were both named to the third-team.
The 2016 GNAC Rookie of the Year, Ponce ranked third in the GNAC at 8.67 assists per game. He's also among the league leaders at 2.16 digs per set and 13th with 0.59 blocks per set. This year he had five matches with 40 or more assists, including a career-high 55 against Elmira. Ponce posted six double-doubles, topped by 45 assists and a career-best 18 digs in the win over Emerson.
Chang took over as the Wildcats' primary outside hitter and ended the year rated fourth during GNAC contests with 3.36 kills pet set. He was tenth overall at 2.43 kills per set and fifth with 238 total kills. Chang had 12 matches with 10 or more kills, including a career-high 21 versus fifth-ranked Wentworth and a 12-kill, 11-dig double-double in the win over No. 12 MIT.
An injury sidelined Kelley at the start of the season but came on to be one of the better middle blockers in the league. He's second in the GNAC with a .341 hitting percentage that increased to .372 against conference teams. In addition, Kelley was seventh in GNAC games at 0.72 blocks per set to go along with top 20 rankings in points and kills. He hit .400 or better in eight contests and added three or more blocks in seven games.
After just the second 20-win season in program history, head coach Scott Reslow should have another good team in 2018. In addition to the All-GNAC players, the Wildcats also return starters Zach Turner (Coventry, RI) at middle blocker and sophomore libero Alex Seda (San Juan, PR).