PROVIDENCE, R.I. – After dropping the first set, the No. 23 Johnson & Wales women's volleyball team (22-4) came back to defeat Ithaca College (16-9), 3-2, in a non-conference barn-burner on Friday evening.
Ithaca opened the match taking the first set, 25-18. Sophomore outside hitter Alison Lipton (Rockford, Ill.) was five of eight from the floor, while classmate Laura Severance (Aurora, Ill.) followed up with four kills in the set.
The Bombers maintained a comfortable lead early in the second set. But with the set tied at 14-14, the Wildcats went off on an 8-3 run to take a 22-17 lead and never looked back. Junior defensive specialist Elyssa Nicolas (San Francisco, Calif.) notched a pair of aces during the stretch. Senior outside hitter Maria Coniglio (Old Bethpage, N.Y.) posted a .438 attack percentage with eight kills on 16 attempts as Johnson & Wales evened the match with a 25-19 victory in set two.
Evening up the match gave the Wildcats a renewed energy. Hitting .545 in the third set, senior middle blocker Kate Walker (Oakland, Calif.) registered six kills on 11 attempts to help the Wildcats squeak out the 25-23 win and take a 2-1 match advantage.
A 25-20 victory by the Bombers in the fourth set tied the match back up and forced a deciding game five. Lipton and first year middle hitter Jennifer Pitts (McMurray, Pa.) combined to hit .526 in the frame, tallying 10 kills on 19 attempts with zero errors.
In the fifth and final set, Johnson & Wales took an early 6-3 lead, capped off by a block from Coniglio and senior middle blocker Hannah Dolan (San Clemente, Calif.). As a team, the Wildcats tallied six total blocks with two big block assists coming late in the set from Walker and sophomore middle blocker Elisabeth Elbrecht (Owings, Md.). Walker was nearly perfect from the floor, registering four kills on six attempts to help the Wildcats seal the match with a 15-10 victory.
No. 23 Johnson & Wales returns to the hard-court tomorrow for a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) tri-match against Colby-Sawyer College and Norwich University beginning at 11 a.m.