PROVIDENCE, RI – The Johnson & Wales University men's volleyball team kicked off the 2018 season on Friday. The Wildcats defeated the host SUNY Poly 3-1 (21-25, 28-26, 30-28, 25-20) then lost to Elms 3-2 (15-25, 21-25, 28-26, 25-22, 12-15).
Johnson & Wales: 1-1
JWU would had to work a little harder to win sets two and three against SUNY Poly. Tied 26-26 in set two, senior Kanila Chang (Orlando, Fla.) came up with a pair of kills to win the set. Johnson & Wales was down 28-27 in the third set, but the hosts committed three-straight errors.
Johnson & Wales' blocking was the difference in the match. Seven different players had multiple blocks, led by Matt LaVasseur's (Salem, NH) team-high five blocks as the Wildcats had 11 rejections, compared to five by the hosts. SUNY Poly also committed 25 service errors.
Newcomer Sanjae Holloway (East Harford, Conn.) led the offensive attack with a team-high 14 kills in his JWU debut. Chang followed with 10 kills.
Johnson & Wales nearly pulled off a comeback from down two sets against Elms. The Wildcats staved off a third-set defeat to win the third set, 28-26, then won the fourth set, 25-22.
JWU's defense kept it in the game as the Wildcats outdug the Blazers, 54-33. Setter Cameron Ponce (San Jose, Calif.) led the way with 15 digs and added 32 assists for his first double-double of the year. Sophomore Nick Bitetto (East Northport, NY) topped the offense with 14 kills.
Day two of the SUNY Poly Invitational starts at 1 p.m. against Wells then a showdown with #4 Vassar.