The Wildcats began the weekend on Thursday evening, hosting Bethany College to kick off the 2016 Wildcat Fall Classic.
The visiting Swedes opened a 5-2 lead in the first few minute but the 'Cats quickly regrouped and rallied to tie the contest 10-10. The opening set continued to be back and forth with the Wildcats never able to build much large of a lead then three points. JWU put together a late run and were solid on the defense to take the first set 26-24.
In the second set, the two sides again traded points early with Johnson & Wales building small leads only to see the Swedes storm back and keep the set competitive. JWU had a late run with Emily Gazaway (Louisville, Colo.) behind the serve to lead 22-17. JWU closed out the set to take the middle frame 25-19.
In the final set, the Swedes didn't find their momentum as JWU jumped out front 9-1. Bethany College tried to chip away but JWU kept focused and forged ahead to the 25-16 win and the 3-0 sweep.
Senior outside hitter Kelley McLain (Simi Valley, Calif.) put together a 17 kill performance and hit .378 in the match. Gazaway had 30 assists for Johnson & Wales while Ashlee Ruehs (Phoenix, Ariz.) had 12 assists. Hannah Christianson (Grass Valley, Calif.) and Cassandra Lacanilao (Oxnard, Calif.) had 18 and 16 digs respectively. Kaleigh Hanrahan (Arvada, Colo.) made her triumphant return to the court after an injury sidelined her for most of last season.
Johnson & Wales will host York College and Avila University at 2pm and 6pm on Friday as the 2016 Wildcat Fall Classic continues.