The Wildcats opened their Spring Break road trip in Chicago at Saint Xavier University on Monday night. Johnson & Wales found themselves in an early 12-4 hole early in the first set before they managed a 7-3 run to pull the game to a SXU 15-11 advantage. The 'Cats kept the momentum but couldn't pick up the set victory, falling 23-25.
The second set saw the Cougars again control the tempo of the contest but couldn't hold off a late Wildcat rally as Johnson & Wales picked up the 25-23 victory. The third set played through like the second set ended with each team staying competitive for every point. Late in the set, the Wildcats stumbled as SXU used JWU errors to take the 25-19 win.
The fourth set was a battle for points on each side of net as both teams kept one another within a rally or two. Johnson & Wales stalled midway through the set as the Cougars jumped out to a 20-13 lead, but JWU went on the offensive and shut down SXU to go on a 14-5 run and win 27-25.
In the final frame, the Cougars quickly put themselves up on the board and used defensive lapses by Johnson & Wales to cruise to the 15-7 win on their way to the 3-2 victory (25-23, 23-25, 25-19, 25-27, 15-7).
Weston Buker and Blake Walden had great offensive nights with 8 kills each to finish with over .400 attacking. Sean Martin led the 'Cats with 25 kills and Damon Sichler finished with 48 assists. Cody Sutton came up with 13 digs. Sam Kull came up big with 14 kills and 0 errors for the Cougars. Dan French added 45 assists and J.T. O'Connell had 5 blocks.
JWU will travel to Dubuque, Iowa for a 7:00 PM contest on Tuesday night with Clarke University.