Johnson & Wales University began the 2017 season on Thursday as they kicked off their Wildcat Invitational tournament. The three day event will see eight teams from across the west travel to the Mile High City for a few days of collegiate volleyball action.
The 'Cats opened the Invitational with a Thursday night contest against York College. The two sides battled eary in the opening set before the visiting Panthers started to pull away midway through the opener. York College pushed their lead up to nine points before the 'Cats pulled their way back in to cut the deficit to four points. The Panthers held on for the 25-20 victory. In the second set, JWU had the early momentum that forced York to make up some ground. The back and forth continued with the Wildcats pulling away late to take the second set 25-22.
The third set saw JWU trailing before focusing and coming back to within a point. The back and forth continued but the Panthers were able to hold off a late run by the 'Cats and take the third 25-20. In the fourth, the Wildcats held a four point lead but the Panthers put together a six point run to go up 10-8 on JWU. The 'Cats tried to find some late momentum but the YC run midway through the set proved to be too much to overcome as the Wildcats fell 20-25.
In the match, Erynn Keeney (Thornton, Colo.) led all players with a game high 10 kills and Rachel Howard (Gig Harbor, Wash.) recorded nine kills in her collegiate debut. Ashlee Ruehs (Phoenix, Ariz.) added 28 assists for Johnson & Wales and Brooke Paxton (Greeley, Colo.) led JWU with 17 digs.
The Wildcats will take on Montana State University - Northern at 2:00pm followed by Mayville State University at 7:00pm on Friday.