The Wildcats closed out their first home weekend of the 2018 season on Saturday with a pair of games against George Fox (OR) and Pacific (OR).
The opening match of the day had the 'Cats face off against George Fox University. In the first set the teams looked to feel each other out early with the 'Cats tying the game 10-10. The Bruins tried to build a lead but the 'Cats rallied again to tie the set 14-14. The back and forth continued with GFU using a late rally to take the 25-20 opening win. In the second, the Bruins looked to pull away early, jumping out front 11-3. The 'Cats worked their way out of trouble to pull within one, trailing 15-16. Another run by George Fox allowed them to capture the 25-17 win.
In the third set, the Bruins again started hot with an 8-2 lead. JWU fought their way back in with a 5-1 run and came back within two points. The Bruins shut down the 'Cats offense late to power their way to the 25-12 in.
In the final match of the Spike It Up Classic, the 'Cats faced off against Pacific University.
The two sides fought for each point throughout the entire match. Each time one squad felt they were starting to build some momentum, the other team would get the stop and put together a rally of their own. The first set saw the Boxers lead 18-15 late before JWU came back to tie the set at 18-18. JWU added a couple more points but the Boxers took the 25-20 win. In the second set the Wildcats led 6-3 in the early moments before Pacific battled back to tie the set 8-8. The Boxers held the small lead for much of the set with a 20-16 advantage late. JWU rallied to tie the set 20-20 and powered their way through a late rally to capture the 25-23 win.
In the third set the Boxers looked determined throughout the set, powering their way to a 25-14 win. In the fourth, each squad had small leads and wouldn't let the other build more then a one or two point advantage. JWU rallied from a 17-20 deficit to take the 21-20 lead. The Boxers shut down the rally though and closed out the set on a 5-0 run to grab the 25-21 win.
Paxton had 12 kills for the Wildcats and Emmy Gazaway (Louisville, Colo.) had 15 assists. Jones had a team high 16 digs for the Wildcats.
Johnson & Wales will travel to Colorado Springs to take part in the Pikes Peak Challenge. The 'Cats will face off against Christopher Newport University and Covenant College on Friday, September 14. The Wildcats will open SCAC play on Saturday, September 15 when they take on tournament hosts Colorado College at 1pm.