JWU travled to Grand View University to open their 2014 season at the Grand View Invitational. The 'Cats played the host Vikings in both teams first match of the Invitational. #4 Grand View University opened a 10-4 lead off the Wildcats errors. Johnson & Wales got their communication worked out and pulled their way back into a 14-10 deficit. Each time the Wildcats put together a small scoring run, the Vikings countered with one of their own to eventually take the set 25-18. The 'Cats hit .294 in the set.
In the second set the Wildcats played strong early and kept the Vikings within strking distance for much of the match. In the closing rallies, Grand View took advantage of receiving errors by JWU to take the 25-17 set. Johnson & Wales hit just .160 in the set. In their final set, the Vikings broke up a 6-6 tie and then went on a 5-0 run to swing the set's momentum in their favor. A kill by Ty Coutts (Colorado Springs, Colo.) put Johnson & Wales with three at 10-13 but Grand View went on a 12-9 run to take the third set 25-19.
Josh Buted (Honolulu, Hawaii) recorded a team high eight kills and .389 attacking percentage in the match. Weston Buker (Ventura, Calif.) had six kills on 16 attempts for JWU while Chase Squires (Clarence Center, N.Y.) put up 20 assists. The Wildcats out blocked the Vikings 5.0 to 3.0 in the loss.
In the second match of the Invitational, Johnson & Wales (0-1) faced off against #10 Clarke University (4-1). The Crusaders picked up an earlier victory over Lindenwood University-Belleville at the Grand View Invitational.
In their first set, both teams opened fairly even before the Crusaders took over. Clarke University took advantage of a string of Wildcat errors to take the opening set 25-14. In the second set, the 'Cats started strong but the Crusaders put together a short scoring rally that knocked Johnson & Wales off their momentum. JWU was able to string points together but Clarke had built enough of a lead to cruise to the 25-15 victory.
In the third set, the 'Cats struggled early as Clarke's Tyler Wills served his team to eight straight points to take the 10-2 lead. JWU couldn't find the momentum to stage the comeback dropping the 25-10 decision. Buted led the Wildcats with a .286 attack percentage. Brian Peoples (Chesterfield, Mo.) and Fracis Berrios-Hernandez (Carolina, Puerto Rico) each ahd 1.5 blocks for JWU.
Johnson & Wales (0-2) will play Graceland University and St. Ambrose University on Saturday at the Grand View Invitational.