KEENE, NH – A fast start propelled the Johnson & Wales University women's volleyball team to its ninth win in a row to start the season. The Wildcats went on the road to defeat Keene State 3-0 (25-10, 25-20, 25-19) on Thursday.
Johnson & Wales: 9-0
Keene State: 5-6
The Wildcats established themselves right from the start. Leading 5-3 in the opening stanza, senior Starsha Tunstall (East Providence, RI) picked up a kill then served seven-straight points to stake JWU to a 13-3 lead. Tunstall posted a season-high nine kills – her highest total since recording nine against Lasell in the 2015 GNAC Tournament – to go along with a career-high of five aces and a .900 hitting percentage.
The top hitting team in the country, Johnson & Wales relied on its defense to get the victory. Led by a season-high 19 digs by libero Gianna Esposito (Larkspur, Calif.), the Wildcats posted a season-high 58 digs compared to 46 by the host.
The Owls got close in the second and third sets, including a 19-16 lead in the set two, but each time sophomore Emily Kalmink (Byron City, Mich.) came through down the stretch. Two of her match-high 12 kills came in the final three points of the second set. For the match, JWU had a .234-.027 hitting percentage margin.
Johnson & Wales gets back into conference action on Saturday when it goes to Norwich for a 1 p.m. start.