HUNTINGTON, Pa. – It's been almost two years since the 14th-ranked Johnson & Wales University women's volleyball team has played a five-set match. The Wildcats came through in the clutch as they won 3-2 (25-27, 25-21, 25-22, 23-25, 15-10) at No. 19 Juniata. JWU started the day by topping Susquehanna 3-0 (25-20, 25-16, 25-15).
Johnson & Wales: 26-0
Kate Walker: 14 kills, 4 blocks, .545 hitting % vs. SU / 14 kills, 6 blocks vs. JC
Maria Coniglio: 11 kills, 15 digs vs. SU / 20 kills, 13 digs vs. JC
Gabbie Scudder: 12 kills .625 hitting % vs. SU
Brylee Frank: 40 assists, 7 digs vs. SU / 51 assists vs. JC
Elyssa Nicolas: 31 digs vs. JC
JWU narrowly lost the first set to Juniata and found itself down 20-16 in the second set. Back-to-back kills by setter Brylee Frank (Palm City, Fla.) ignited a 9-1 run as JWU came back to win the set. The Wildcats almost won the match in four sets, but left no doubt in the deciding set. Johnson & Wales started the fifth set on a 6-0 run, including two kills by Kate Walker. (Oakland, Calif.).
The top hitting team in the NCAA was held to a season-low .172, but more than made up for it with its defense. Johnson & Wales had season highs of 92 digs and 12 blocks. Libero Elyssa Nicolas (Brisbane, Calif.) produced a season-high 31 digs and Walker recorded six blocks.
The majority of the JWU offense came from three players, topped by Maria Coniglio's (Old Bethpage, N.Y.) match-best 20 kills. She also had 13 digs for her second double-double of the day. Walker followed with 14 kills and Bella Oldham (Irvine, Calif.) had a season-best 10 winners. Frank handed out a season-high 51 assists.
Johnson & Wales made quick work of Susquehanna during its opening match. JWU's defense kept the River Hawks' offense in check. JWU had a 60-36 edge in digs as well as 6-3 for blocks. Frank had the JWU offense humming as her 40 assists help JWU hit .368.
Three different Wildcats had 10 or more kills, led by Walker's match-high 14 winners. Coniglio recorded her second double-double in a row with 11 kills and a match-high 15 digs. Rookie Gabbie Scudder (Ashburn, Va.) notched 12 kills.
JWU plays its final home game of the regular season Thursday when it takes on Western New England at 7 p.m.