Johnson & Wales wrapped up their California roadtrip on Saturday with a pair of neutral court matches to close out the 2015 Cougar Classic at Cal State San Marcos.
In the first match of the day, the 'Cats took on Division II Sonoma State. In the opening set the Wildcats battled early but saw the Seawolves use two scoring runs late to take the 25-17 win. In the second set, Johnson & Wales started slow and Sonoma State capitalized on the stalled offense to jump out to a 13-5 lead. The 'Cats made some inroads but the Seawolves had built enough of a lead to take the 25-14 victory.
In the third set, the Wildcats reset offensively and played a strong back and forth contest. Each run was matched with the same intensity on the other side of the net. After leading 18-17, the Seawolves shut down JWU and went on a 7-0 run for the 25-17 win.
Kelley McLain (Simi Valley, Calif.) and Danielle Gianninni (Morrison, Colo.) each notched six kills in the match for the 'Cats with Gianninni hitting .455 in the match. Emily Gazaway (Louisvilley, Colo.) had 13 assists for the Wildcats.
The second match of the day saw JWU takon NAIA #16 Westmont College. After a fairly even start in the first set, the Wildcats went from trailing 9-11 to take a 14-11 lead. The Warriors rallied back to tie the set 20-20 and the back and forth continued between the two sides. Johnson & Wales held off the late push by the Warriors to take the 25-23 win.
The Warriors controlled the offense through the remaining sets and used big scoring runs to take the next three and the 3-1 victroy.
Brittany Mukhar (Lancaster, Calif.) had 12 kills for Johnson & Wales and McLain hit a team high .138. Hannah Christianson (Grass Valley, Calif.) stepped into the libero role for the Wildcats and came up with 29 digs for JWU.
McLain was named to the Cougar Classic All-Tournament team, capturing her second all-tournament team honors this season, She was recognized for her efforts on the court last weekend at the Peru State College Fall Classic as well.
Johnson & Wales will return home to take on Bethany College on Thursday evening to kick off the 2016 Wildcat Classic.