PROVIDENCE, RI – Needing a victory to wrap up a home game for the first round of next week's GNAC Tournament, the Johnson & Wales University men's volleyball team came through in the clutch. The Wildcats defeated Emmanuel, 3-0 (25-15, 25-22, 25-20) on Thursday.
Emmanuel: 13-14, 7-5 GNAC
Johnson & Wales: 15-14, 7-5 GNAC
With the victory, the Wildcats are guaranteed to finish in the top four and host a first round match. JWU is tied with Emmanuel for third place and has the tiebreaker should the two teams remain tied after Saturday's regular season finales.
Johnson & Wales got out to a fast start, jumping out to an 11-4 lead in the first set. The Wildcats hit .406 in the opening frame while holding the Saints to -.033. Emmanuel pulled within 22-21 in set two, but a service error and block by Zach Turner and Kanila Chang pushed the lead back to 24-21. The Saints had an early lead in set three, but a Chang kill sparked a 6-1 run that propelled the Wildcats to victory.
The Wildcats blocking was the difference in the match. Johnson & Wales had 14 blocks, while the Saints only mustered a trio of rejections. JWU produced a .235 to .084 hitting percentage.
Freshman Dondre Crump had a season-high 11 kills. Playing in their final regular season home game, seniors Chang and Matt LaVasseur had seven and six kills, respectively. LaVasseur was one of three Wildcats with five or more blocks. Zach Turner produced a team-high seven rejections while setter Cameron Ponce had six to go along with a 29-assist, 15-dig double-double.
Erik English just missed a double-double for the Saints. He had a team-best eight kills and match-high 17 digs. Kevin Orsley followed with seven kills.
Johnson & Wales wraps up the regular season with two matches on Saturday against Emerson and Regis.