WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - The University of Saint Joseph was defeated by No. 20 Johnson & Wales University in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) volleyball match inside the O'Connell Athletic Center on Wednesday night. The Wildcats downed the Blue Jays in straight sets 25-10, 25-14 and 25-18 to increase their consecutive sets won streak to 45. The victory is the 20th straight for JWU over GNAC opponents as they remain undefeated on the year and improve to 17-0 overall and 6-0 in the league. The Blue Jays slip to 4-10 and 0-4 with the setback.
Junior Carly Ruzbasan (Torrington, Conn.) finished with 11 digs and a team-high eight kills to lead the Blue Jays in the setback, while junior Torrie Epps (Windsor, Conn.) and sophomore Jasmine Buckley (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) each chipped in with three kills each. Junior libero Janell Molina (Honolulu, Hawaii) led USJ defensively with a match-high 14 digs and sophomore setter Brenna Miller (McCleary, Wash.) facilitated the offense with 16 assists.
Johnson & Wales used a balanced attack to record the victory with six players posting five or more kills led by sophomore Elizabeth Hamilton (Canton, Mass.) who finished with eight. JWU hit .303 as a team compared to -.012 for the Blue Jays. Freshman Mikayla Arimura (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) and sophomore Brylee Frank (Palm City, Fla.) split the setting duties on the night finishing with 25 and 13 assists, respectfully. Hamilton also led the Wildcats defensively with a team-high 10 digs and JWU combined to finish with five blocks as a team in the match.
USJ came out strong in the opening set and led early, 5-4, on its home court after a kill by sophomore Lauren Pelletier (South Windsor, Conn.). However a quick 7-0 run by the Wildcats off the serve of junior Monica Cordova (Jersey City, N.J.) flipped the momentum and the Wildcats would never trail again in the set and take the opener 25-10.
The visitors would carry that over into the beginning of the second set and race out to an 11-3 lead. USJ would use a quick 4-0 spurt to pull within 11-7, highlighted by a kill from Ruzbasan, but that would be as close as they would get for the remainder of the set. Three kills by freshman Kelly Delaney (Calais, Maine) late in the set, including the set-winner, would seal the victory and put JWU up 2-0.
The third set was tight early with the Blue Jays holding a slight 7-6 edge after a JWU service error, but another quick run (5-0) by the Wildcats in the middle of a set would propel them into the lead for good. USJ would pull within four two times at 15-11 and 18-14, but could not stretch the pair of runs long enough to put any pressure on JWU as they would take the final set 25-18 and the match 3-0.
The USJ volleyball team will be back in action next on Saturday when they head to Anna Maria for a GNAC tri-match with the AMCATS and Regis (Mass.). They faceoff with Regis (Mass.) at 12 p.m. and then tackle host Anna Maria at 2 p.m. Johnson & Wales hosts a GNAC tri-match on Saturday with Lasell and Albertus Magnus. They open up with the Lasers at 11 p.m. followed by 3 p.m. match with the Falcons.