PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Top-seed and No. 23-ranked Johnson & Wales University women's volleyball team proved too strong for eighth-seed Lasell University Tuesday evening, bouncing the Lasers from the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) tournament with a 3-0 quarterfinal verdict.
The Wildcats improve to 25-4, and will host fourth-seed Suffolk University in a GNAC semifinal match on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. Lasell wraps up its season at 9-23.
Sophomore Kiana Perez Diaz (Juncos, P.R.) led the Lasers with six kills and 14 digs. Sophomore Meg Roberts (Newington, Conn.) chipped in with four kills and a block, but the Lasers couldn't match up with the powerful Wildcats.
Lasell took advantage of a few Johnson & Wales miscues early, to jump out to a 5-1 lead, but the Wildcats did not panic. Senior outside hitter Hannah Dolan (San Clemente, Calif.) and sophomore outside hitter Tiah Scott (Medford, Mass.) sparked a 14-1 run with block to take a commanding 15-6 lead.
The Wildcats never looked back. Hitting an outstanding .625 as a team, Johnson & Wales registered 11 kills on 16 attempts with just one error to take the first set, 25-9.
The Wildcat offense continued to show its dominance over the Lasers in the second set. From the service line, senior defensive specialist Elyssa Nicolas (San Francisco, Calif.) helped the Wildcats open the set with a 5-0 run. Scott helped Johnson & Wales build on its lead registering back-to-back kills, to go in front 8-2. Moments later, an ace by senior outside hitter Maria Coniglio (Old Bethpage, N.Y.) and a kill from Dolan put the Wildcats up 10-2.
Lasell chipped its way back into the match, pulling to within two points, 11-9, before senior middle blocker Kate Walker (Oakland, Calif.) halted the comeback. The northern California native ignited a 10-1 run with a kill to put the Wildcats back in total control, going on to take the set, 25-15.
Coniglio opened the third set with a kill as the Wildcats jumped out to an early 4-1 lead. A mistake on the Wildcat offense, followed by a kill by Lasell's Roberts pulled Lasers to within a point, 4-3. But Johnson & Wales answered. Senior setter Brylee Frank (Palm City, Fla.) notched one of her two kills of the match to spark a 9-3 run to give Johnson & Wales a 13-6 and force Lasell to use a timeout. But it did nothing to quell the potent Wildcats, going on to take the third and final set, 25-14.
(Contributions from Johnson & Wales Sports Information)
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