PROVIDENCE – Since the first meeting of the season with Rivier University, the Johnson & Wales University men's volleyball team has made great strides. Unfortunately, the Wildcats weren't able to get over the hump against the Raiders as they dropped a 3-0 (23-25, 23-25, 20-25) contest on Tuesday.
Rivier: 15-8, 6-1 GNAC
Johnson & Wales: 14-12, 3-4 GNAC
Johnson & Wales took a 16-14 lead in the first set on a kill by freshman Matt McCarthy (Millis, Mass.). The Raiders responded by going on a 7-1 run on their way to winning the first set. A Donovan Kelley (Encinitas, Calif.) kill tied the second set at 21-21, but tough Raiders serving gave them the second stanza. Tied at 19-19 in the third set, JWU committed three errors down the stretch as Rivier took the match.
Johnson & Wales hit .215 for the match but was topped by Rivier's rate of .352. The Raiders had a 34-22 advantage in digs but helped out the Wildcats by committing 36 total errors.
Leading the Wildcats attack was Kelley as he notched a team-high eight kills to go along with three blocks. Kanila Chang (Orlando, Fla.) and Zach Turner (Coventry, RI) were next with seven kills. Setter Cameron Ponce (San Jose, Calif.) dished out 26 assists and had three blocks.
Rivier had a balanced attack with three different players recording 10 or more kills, topped by Matt Heckler's 12. Ian Wolski followed with 11 and Grant Andler added 10. Setter Tyler Blank handed out 42 assists.
The Wildcats are on the road Saturday for a pair of GNAC matches, hosted at Mount Ida. JWU takes on No. 6 Wentworth at 12 p.m. followed by a 2 p.m. contest with the Mustangs.