Johnson & Wales closed out their first weekend of the season on Saturday with a pair of losses at the 2018 Oregon Trail Classic.
In the first match of the day, the 'Cats faced Whitworth University. The Pirates jumped out to a 7-2 lead to set the tone early. The 'Cats chipped away but WU continued to put together scoring runs to capture the 25-10 win. In the second set, the two sides traded points early before Whitworth started to find some momentum midway through. The Pirates went on a 4-0 run to start to build some distance before finishing on an 8-1 run to take the 25-12 victory. In the third, the 'Cats came out to a 3-0 lead and held a small advantage through much of the set. JWU led 18-10 before a late push by the Pirates allowed them to take the 23-19 lead. The 'Cats weren't able to put together their own run, falling 25-22.
The second match of the day saw the 'Cats take on Linfield College. The opening set went back and forth between the two squads with Linfield holding the 11-10 lead at the midpoint. A late run by Linfield allowed them to take the opening set 25-16. In the second, Linfield lead 5-0 early before the 'Cats got on the board. Linfield continued to control the tempo of the set, taking the 25-17 win. Johnson & Wales led early in the third, holding the 17-13 lead. Linfield battled back to take the lead and eventually the 25-21 win.
Johnson & Wales will return to Denver for their home opener on September 7 & 8 when they host the Spike It Up Classic. The 'Cats open their home slate against Pacific Lutheran on Friday at 12pm MT.