PROVIDENCE, RI – The Johnson & Wales University men's volleyball opened the JWU Invitational by splitting its first two matches. JWU started the day by dropping a 3-1 (23-25, 30-28, 21-25, 23-25) decision to Endicott. The Wildcats rallied to win the second bout 3-0 (25-19, 25-16, 25-17) against Bard.
Johnson & Wales: 1-2
JWU had a 17-10 lead in set one on a pair of Endicott attack errors, but the Gulls fought back and won the set 25-23 on a Bryn Lipton kill. The two teams traded service errors to make it 28-28 in the second set. The Wildcats took the set thanks to back-to-back Endicott attack errors. JWU had a 21-19 lead in the fourth set, but three Wildcat errors and four EC kills gave the Gulls the match.
Setter Cameron Ponce (San Jose, Calif.) recorded his first double-double of the year with a match-high 33 assists and a team-best 13 digs. Brendan Baker (Providence, RI) just missed the double dip with nine kills and nine digs as well as a match-high five blocks.
The Wildcats spotted the Raptors a 12-8 lead to start the nightcap before going on a 12-5 run on their way to the first set. JWU got off to a fast 5-1 start in the second set and extended the lead to 18-10 as it took a 2-0 advantage in the match. The Wildcats jumped out to a 9-1 advantage as they put away the match with a third-set victory.
Once again Ponce and Baker led the Wildcats' offense. Ponce notched 21 assists to go along with six digs. Baker recorded a match-high nine kills. Kyle MacKnight (East Northport, NY) added seven kills and Kanila Chang (Orlando, Fla.) produced five kills and seven digs.
Day two of the JWU Invitational starts with the Wildcats taking on Regis at 9 a.m. then MIT at 1 p.m.