The Wildcats returned to Denver to host a pair of matches on Friday. The 'Cats opened the weekend with a midday match against #25 Peru State College.
The visiting Bobcats trailed early in the first set as Johnson & Wales jumped out to a 16-11 lead. The Bobcats rallied to tie the set 16-16 but the Wildcats rattled off five straight points to take the 22-17 lead. JWU pushed ahead to take the 25-19 win.
In the second set, PSC led 5-0 to start and controlled the tempo early. JWU chipped away and put together a late run but the Bobcats held them off for the 25-16 win. In the third, the two sides traded points early and each had small scoring runs midway through. The 'Cats went on a 6-0 run to lead 22-15 looking to hold the momentum. The Bobcats rallied to take a 25-24 lead on their way to the comeback 27-25 win.
In the fourth set, the two sides again swapped scoring opportunities until late in the set when the Bobcats found the points to take the 25-20 win.
Danielle Giannini (Morrison, Colo.) had 13 kills for Johnson & Wales in the match and hit .407. She also had a game high 6 block assists. Hannah Christianson (Grass Valley, Calif.) led a quartet of Wildcats in double-digit digs with 20.
The second match of the day had Johnson & Wales facing the University of Saint Francis Cougars. The two teams got off to a slow start, trading points in the opening minutes. After breaking up a 7-7 tie, the Cougars went on an 11-0 run to take control and put the match away on their way to a 25-14 win. In the second set, the Wildcats regrouped and used well timed scoring runs capture the 25-15 win.
The third set saw Johnson & Wales start strong early and maintain their momentum throughout. The Cougars chipped away but the 'Cats ultimately held them off for the 25-20 win. In the fourth set the back and forth action continued with neither side building much of an advantage. Johnson & Wales put together a four point run late looking to close out the match but the Cougars came back to take the 25-22 win.
In the fifth set, neither team captured early momentum as the game looked for someone to step up and take it across the line. The 'Cats offense came alive late and the powered their way to the 15-11 win and 3-2 victory.
Kelley McLain (Simi Valley, Calif.) had a game high 19 kills for Johnson & Wales and hit .405 in the match. Giannini had another big game with nine kills a .500 attacking. Offensively, the Wildcats saw great performances from Katie Malachinski (Stevensville, Mont.) and Brittney Mukhar (Oxnard, Calif.) who added 12 and 13 kills respectively. Ashlee Ruehs (Phoenix, Ariz.) had a career high 54 assits for the Wildcats in the win.
The 'Cats will have a pair of rematches on Saturday when they take on University of Saint Francis at 12pm and Peru State at 6pm.