PROVIDENCE, RI. – The Johnson & Wales University women's volleyball team faced a pair of tough opponents on the second day of the JWU Invitational and came out with two victories. The fourth-ranked Wildcats started Saturday by beating Tufts, 3-1 (19-25, 25-16, 25-19, 25-19), then downed previously undefeated Bowdoin, 3-1 (25-12, 21-25, 25-22, 25-21).
#4 Johnson & Wales: 13-1
Kate Walker (JWU): 14 kills, 3 blocks vs. Tufts; 18 kills, 8 blocks vs. Bowdoin
Katie Leidhold (JWU): 10 kills vs. Tufts; 10 kills, 10 digs vs. Bowdoin
Maria Coniglio (JWU): 17 kills, 13 digs vs. Bowdoin
Brylee Frank (JWU): 42 assists, 11 digs vs. Bowdoin
The two victories ran the Wildcats' home-court winning streak to 47 matches, the seventh-longest in NCAA history.
An attack error knotted the first set against Bowdoin at 10-10, but JWU finished on a 15-2 run thanks to eight points off the serve of Mikayla Arimura. Set two swung back and forth and was tied, 21-21, on a Kate Walker kill. A pair of JWU errors gave the Polar Bears the second stanza.
JWU's play in the final five points of the third and fourth sets was the difference. The Wildcats were down 20-19 in the third, but Maria Coniglio notched a pair of kills and Brylee Frank produced an ace to give JWU the win. Bowdoin got within 20-18 in the fourth set, but Coniglio, Katie Leidhold and Hannah Dolan produced kills to seal the victory.
Walker had one the best days of her collegiate career as she notched a career-best 18 kills with eight blocks in the win over Bowdoin.
Coniglio and Leidhold each produced a double-double. Coniglio recorded 17 kills and 13 digs while Leidhold added 10 kills and 10 digs. Joining the double-double club was Frank with 42 assists and 11 digs.
JWU limited the Polar Bears to a .170 hitting percentage thanks to 11 blocks and 78 digs.
The Wildcats dug themselves a 7-1 hole in the first set against Tufts that they would not recover from. Leidhold helped the Wildcats even the match by serving eight-straight points to build a 9-2 lead in set two.
The Jumbos pulled within 15-13 in the third set, but JWU went on a 9-4 run to build an insurmountable lead. A Cate Desler kill closed the fourth set to 21-19, but JWU won the final four points to finish the match.
Leading all player was Walker as she amassed 14 kills while Leidhold was next on the team with 10.
The Wildcats' tough serving in the final three sets was the difference. Leidhold had three aces while libero Elyssa Nicolas added two to going along with her 21 digs.
The Wildcats get back into conference action Thursday when they travel to Albertus Magnus for a 7 p.m. showdown