DENVER – The Johnson & Wales University volleyball team dropped a nail-biter Saturday, falling 3-2 to Marian University in the Wildcat Invitational.
Looking for their third straight victory, the Wildcats won Sets 2 and 3 to grab a 2-1 lead in the match before coming up just short in a back-and-forth fourth set. The Wildcats grabbed a 6-3 lead early in the decisive fifth set before a 7-0 run by the Sabres gave the visitors the momentum -- and the lead -- for good.
Senior Brooke Paxton finished with 11 kills, 22 digs and three aces to lead JWU Denver (2-5).
Freshmen Hope Hines led the Wildcats with a dozen kills and added five digs. Senior Ashlee Ruehs totaled 24 assists, nine digs and eight block assists while sophomore Jacquelyn Ortiz had 12 digs and 11 assists.
As a team, JWU set season highs with 73 digs and 14 total blocks. Freshmen Elyse Swensen led the Wildcat defense with nine block assists.
The Wildcats wrap up the tournament Saturday against Illinois Tech (7 p.m.).