LA VERNE, Calif. – A younger squad might have had a letdown after beating the number one team in the country, but the veteran-led, sixth-ranked Johnson & Wales University women's volleyball team came back with two more wins at the Pacific Coast Classic. Johnson & Wales started Saturday by defeating Occidental, 3-0 (25-17, 25-19, 25-20), then topped La Verne, 3-1 (28-26, 25-20, 23-25, 25-21)
Johnson & Wales: 3-1
Brylee Frank (JWU): 44 assists, 16 digs vs UL; 34 assists, 12 digs vs. OC
Maria Coniglio (JWU): 14 kills, 13 digs vs. UL; 13 kills vs. OC
Katie Leidhold (JWU): 13 kills, 15 digs vs. UL
Kate Walker (JWU): 14 kills, 4 blocks, .455 hitting vs. UL
Elyssa Nicolas (JWU): 27 digs vs. UL
Playing on the Leopards' home court, La Verne was a tougher challenge for the Wildcats. Elyssa Nicolas produced an ace and Katie Leidhold got a kill to break a 26-26 tie in the first set. Down 24-18 in the third set, JWU closed within 24-23 but the hosts forced a fourth set.
The Wildcats built a 22-16 lead in the fourth set on a Maria Coniglio kill. The Leopards clawed within 22-20, but the hosts committed a pair of errors then Leidhold came up with another winner to finish the match.
Coniglio and fellow All-American Kate Walker tied with a team-high 14 kills. Coniglio added 13 digs for a double-double while Walker collected four blocks. Leidhold also had a double-double with 13 kills and 15 digs. Setter Brylee Frank notched 44 assists and 16 digs for her fourth double-double of the year. Nicolas recorded 27 digs, the second-highest total of her career.
Johnson & Wales was too much upfront for Occidental. Five different players had seven or more kills, led by 13 from Coniglio. JWU hit .345 while limiting the Tigers to .167. Four different players had a dozen digs, including setter Frank who had a 34-assist, 12-dig double-double.
The Wildcats were not pushed in the first two sets. Occidental rallied to pull within 19-18 in the third set, but JWU ended the match on a 6-2 run. Walker had a pair of kills during that stretch.
The Wildcats open GNAC action next Saturday when they travel to the league's newest member, Colby-Sawyer, to take on the Chargers and Saint Joseph (Conn.).