PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The No. 21 Johnson & Wales women's volleyball team (26-4) returns to the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship Game for the sixth straight year with a 3-0 victory over Suffolk University (20-12) on Thursday evening.
Kate Walker (JWU) – 8 Kills, .615 Att.%, 4 Total Blocks (3 BA, 1 BS)
Hannah Dolan (JWU) – 9 Kills, .467 Att.%, 3 Total Blocks
Tiah Scott (JWU) – 6 Kills, .455 Att.%, 1 BS
Brylee Frank (JWU) – 27 Assists, 2 BA
Hitting .429 as a team with 10 kills on 21 attempts, Johnson & Wales set the tone of the match from the beginning. Senior outside hitter Maria Coniglio (Old Bethpage, N.Y.) capped an 10-3 to open the first set and force the Rams to call its first timeout.
Coming out of the timeout, Suffolk clawed its way back, pulling to within four points, 11-7, but that's when Johnson & Wales made its second extended run. Taking advantage of Ram miscues, the Wildcats built a 15-7 lead. Back-to-back kills by sophomore outside hitter Tiah Scott (Medford, Mass.) gave the Wildcats an 18-8 advantage, before capping off the first set with 7-1 run.
The second set looked similar to the first set, with the Wildcats taking an early 10-3 lead. Senior middle blocker Hannah Dolan (San Clemente, Calif.) and junior outside hitter Kelly Delaney (Calais, Maine) went up for a block and extended the Wildcat lead to nine, 13-4.
Johnson & Wales did not let up. With a commanding 10-point lead late and a dominating performance at the net defensively, Senior middle blocker Kate Walker (Oakland, Calif.) capped off the second set victory with a pair of blocks to take the 2-0 match advantage.
Unwilling to let its season go away quietly, the Rams kept the score close early in the third set, tying the score six times. After a kill by Suffolk junior middle blocker Stephanie Rheaume (Hampton, N.H.) tied the match at nine, the Wildcats flipped the switch. Senior setter Brylee Frank (Palm City, Fla.) notched a kill to ignite a 9-2 run to create some separation between the two teams, to take an 18-11 lead.
The Rams pulled back to within five points following a bad set by Frank, but it served as motivation for the Wildcats. Frank answered with a kill on the following play as Johnson & Wales sealed the match with a 5-2 run as it heads back to the GNAC title match for the sixth consecutive year.
No. 21 Johnson & Wales will host third-seed Rivier University in a re-match of last year's GNAC championship match on Saturday, November 9 at 3 p.m.