Wolves take win in Wildcat's home finale
Johnson & Wales University honored seniors Ryan Schroerlucke and Brett Eisen prior to the first serve of their final home match of the year. The Wildcats entered the contest having picked up a 3-2 victory over the Cardinal Stritch University Wolves on Sunday night. The Wolves looked to avenge the loss and spoil the Wildcats festivities.
Cardinal Strich began the match on a 3-0 run but were shut down by a kill from junior outside hitter Nick Legler. The Wolves would again find some momentum to build a small lead but Johnson & Wales again shut down Stritch's offense and tied the contest at 8. Cardinal Stritch pulled ahead again while the Wildcats stalled in the low teens. The set would close out on a late run by JWU but the Stritch Wolves had already put the set out of reach putting JWU down 1-0 with a final score of 25-19.
The second set was a battle from the start. Johnson & Wales opened a sizeable 13-7 lead only to see Cardinal Stritch rally and take a 16-14 advantage. Each small run by the Wolves was matched by the 'Cats. The set point looked like it would never happen as both teams had a hard time finding that second point for the win. The Wolves finally found the 30-28 win off an attack error by Johnson & Wales.
The third set was much like the second with both teams looking to control the tempo of the set and holding a small lead only to see it slide away with a rally from the other side of the net. A series of attack errors at 14-13 in favor of the Wildcats put the Wolves ahead where they would stay for the rest of the match. Another late run of attack errors by JWU gave Cardinal Stritch the 25-18 set and 3-0 win.
The Wildcats struggled offensively for much of the match hitting just .058 on the night. Legler and Alex Beehner each had 7 kills for Johnson & Wales. Damon Sichler setup 16 assists for the 'Cats and Ryan Schroerlucke finished with 9 digs. Freshman middle Matt Jenkins again provided a defensive stop at the net with 3.5 blocks.
The Wildcats will take a week off before traveling across the country to take on Saint Ambrose University, Endicott College and Stevens Institute of Technology in Tampa on March 17 & 18 to close out their regular season. They'll return to Southern California the following weekend for the MAMVIC National Conference Tournament at Hope International University.