PROVIDENCE, RI – The Lasell women's volleyball team fell to the nationally ranked Wildcats of Johnson & Wales in straight sets in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) semifinal match Thursday evening. The top-seeded Wildcats won by set scores of 25-11, 25-13, and 25-10, and move on to their fourth straight Championship match on Saturday to face Simmons College.
Lasell closes its 2017 campaign at 15-20, while JWU holds a scorching 31-0 record heading into the finals. Johnson & Wales improved the tenth-best home court winning streak in NCAA history to 38 matches. JWU is two shy of tying Bowdoin for the number nine spot. The Wildcats are 64-1 over the last two seasons.
Lasell hung with the Wildcats in the first set, pulling within three (11-8), but the Wildcats put the set out of reach with a 14-3 run. The JWU margin was two, 11-9, in the second set off a Michele Canestro (Castleton, N.Y.) kill. However, JWU took control thank to a 14-4 stretch.
Johnson & Wales had it going in all phases of the game, hitting .461 while limiting the Lasers to .025. JWU had a 41-26 advantage in digs - libero Elyssa Nicolas (Brisbane, Calif.) produced a match-high 14 - to go along with 10 aces, 50 percent of which came from Katie Leidhold (Acushnet, Mass.).
Mickayla Shelburn (Waterford, Conn.) and Meredith Eagan (North Andover, Mass.) topped Lasell with five kills each. Setter Taylor Tiezzi (Meriden, Conn.) produced 14 assists and eight digs, while Caitlyn Garcia (Moreno Valley, Calif.) contributed with nine digs.
Leading all players was Maria Coniglio (Old Bethpage, NY) with 16 kills as well as seven digs. Kate Walker (Oakland, Calif.) chipped in nine kills and Leidhold had seven. Setter Brylee Frank (Palm City, Fla.) handed out 33 assists.
Johnson & Wales will host Simmons in the GNAC championship game on Saturday at 1 p.m. JWU defeated the Sharks, 3-0, on September 26.