NEW HAVEN, Conn. – No GNAC women's volleyball team has ever completed the regular season undefeated or won 30 matches in a year. Until now. Johnson & Wales University swept both of its matches on Saturday to finish the regular season with a 30-0 mark. The Wildcat defeated Albertus Magnus 3-0 (25-20, 25-14, 25-15) then took down Lasell 3-0 (25-19, 25-11, 25-16).
Johnson & Wales: 30-0, 11-0 GNAC
In addition to a perfect record, the Wildcats almost finished the year without losing a set. Rivier on September 21 is the only team to take a set off JWU. Since then, the Wildcats have won their last 58 sets.
Johnson & Wales was in complete control of the second match. The Wildcats out-hit the Falcons .316 to -.096 and had the advantage for digs (49-30) and blocks (7-5).
Setter Brylee Frank (Palm City, Fla.) was connecting with her middle blockers as Emily Kalmink (Byron Center, Mich.) and Kate Walker (Oakland, Calif.) had 22 of the Wildcats' 36 kills. Kalmink had a match-high 12 kills and Walker added 10.
Frank just missed a double-double as she recorded 30 assists as well as eight digs. Leading the way defensively was libero Gianna Esposito (Larkspur, Calif.) with 22 digs.
The Wildcat had their lowest offensive output in the opening contest against Albertus Magnus, hitting .204, but came through at the service line as well as blocking at the net. Seven different players had at least one ace with JWU posting 10 total. Johnson & Wales also had a 7-1 advantage in blocks.
Senior Starsha Tunstall (East Providence, RI) had one of her best games of the year versus the Falcons. She had a season-high 11 kills as well as five blocks. Sophomore Nastasia Kapustin (West Nyack, NY) was next with nine kills and classmate Monica Cordova (Jersey City, NJ) recorded 10 digs.
Johnson & Wales is the top seed for next week's GNAC Tournament and will host matches in the Wildcat Center as long as it remains in the tournament. The Wildcats open the first round on Tuesday when they take on Suffolk at 7 p.m. JWU defeated the Rams, 3-0, during the regular season.