Johnson & Wales closed the book on their opening weekend with a pair of matches on Saturday in the Wildcat Center.
In their first match of the day, the 'Cats took on Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Ariz.). In the opening set the Wildcats jumped out to a 7-3 lead but the Eagles chipped away to take a 10-8 lead. Embry-Riddle put together a 5-0 run to pull away from JWU. Embry-Riddle took the first set 25-16 while holding Johnson & Wales to .107. In the second set, the 'Cats again began on a tear and held off a late rush by the Eagles to take the 25-20 victory. JWU notched 10 kills in the set and forced ERAU into committing nine attack errors.
In the third set, the Eagles found their rhythm early and maintained it throughout the set on their way to a 25-14 win. During the fourth set the two sides traded scoring runs before the Eagles rallied from a three point deficit to take the 26-24 win. Kelley McLain (Simi Valley, Calif.) had 11 kills for Johnson & Wales and both Mary Acord (Granby, Colo.) and Sierra Joyner (Oxnard, Calif.) each had 13 digs.
In the final match of the tournament weekend, the 'Cats took on Benedictine University at Mesa. The Wildcats struggled offensively in the first set, notching just nine kills in their 16-25 loss. The second set had JWU rebound and up their attacking to .238 with 14 kills. Johnson & Wales pushed to the end but came up short in a 23-25 loss.
The third set saw Johnson & Wales find their momentum early and lead 10-4 midway through the set. The turnaround caused the crowd to increase their volume and unsettle the Red Hawks in the third frame as the Wildcats took the 25-17 win. In the fourth set, Benedictine Mesa regrouped and were able to power their way to a 25-12 win and take the match 3-1.
Johnson & Wales will travel to southern California next weekend for a match at San Diego Christian and a tournament at Cal State San Marcos.