PROVIDENCE, RI – After a tough start to the JWU Invitational, the Johnson & Wales University men's volleyball team finished the tournament strong. JWU got the day going with a 3-1 (29-27, 17-25, 25-22, 25-20) victory over Regis. The Wildcats wrapped up the weekend with a 3-1 (25-22, 27-25, 17-25, 26-24) win against MIT.
Johnson & Wales: 3-2
Brendan Baker (JWU): 24 kills, 6 digs vs. RC / 17 kills, 15 digs vs. MIT
Cameron Ponce (JWU): 52 assists, 10 digs, 4 blocks vs. RC / 36 assists, 8 digs, 4 blocks vs. MIT
Kanila Chang (JWU): 12 kills, 11 digs vs. MIT
The Wildcats fended off two Regis set points in the opening stanza before Kanila Chang (Orlando, Fla.) produced a kill to take the first set. The Pride tied the third set, 21-21, but the Wildcats got kills from Brendan Baker (Providence, RI) and Matt LaVasseur (Salem, NH) plus three Regis errors to take the third set. JWU went on an 8-3 run midway through the fourth set and Regis would only cut the margin down to three as the Wildcats pulled away for the victory.
Baker had a career game in the opener, recording a career-high 24 kills to go along with six digs. Also having his best game in a Wildcat uniform was setter Cameron Ponce (San Jose, Calif.) as he notched a career-high 52 assists. He added 10 digs for his second double-double as well as four blocks. Chang just missed a double-double with 12 kills and nine digs.
JWU pulled away late in the first set against MIT then the Wildcats squeaked out the second set. MIT tied it at 25-25, but the Wildcats got back-to-back kills from Chang and Baker to take the second frame. The fourth set was tight, featuring nine ties, including 24-24. JWU took a 25-24 lead on a MIT service error then Chang and LaVassuer closed the game with a block.
Baker had another monster game, producing a 17-kill, 15-block double-double. Chang got his double-double with 12 points and 11 digs. Ponce had another great all-around game, putting up 36 assists, eight digs and four blocks. JWU had a 9-4 advantage in blocks.
The Wildcats go on the road for the first time in 2017 when they travel to Rochester, NY, to play in Nazareth College's tournament.