Story written and posted by Anthony Perry, Rivier University Sports Information Director
NASHUA, N.H. – The Rivier University Women's Volleyball team hosted #21 Johnson and Wales University this evening in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference contest inside the Muldoon Gymnasium. The matchup featured the two programs that have battled each other in the GNAC WVB Championship Game in four of the last five years. Historically speaking, one of these programs has made an appearance in the GNAC Championship Game every year since 1997, including matching up eight times. Tonight, the Raiders suffered just their second conference loss as they ultimately fell to the Wildcats in five sets. With the loss, the Raiders are now 17-6 overall on the season with a 5-2 mark against the conference while Johnson & Wales remains undefeated in conference play at 7-0 and are now 18-4 on the year.
The Wildcats took home the come-from-behind win by set scores of 22-25, 19-25, 25-16, 25-11 and 15-9.
Senior Jess Whyte (Plymouth, Mass.) led the way for Rivier as she totaled the game-high of 14 kills while also providing help defensively with three total blocks. Senior Taylor Dunster (Sutton, Mass.) chipped in with a 13-kill, 9-dig performance on the night and sophomore Sydney Racevicius (Woodbury, Conn.) added seven kills and a team-high 15 digs. Sophomore setter Avery Pollard (Ballston Lake, N.Y.) dished out 38 assists while also scooping up 11 digs and three total blocks for the Raiders. Freshman Anna Campbell (Nashua, N.H.) played outstanding along the back line as she collected 10 digs in the five set loss.
Johnson & Wales saw the efforts of senior Maria Coniglio (Old Bethpage, N.Y.), who had 14 kills, 19 digs and five total blocks. Seniors Kate Walker (Oakland, Calif.) and Hannah Dolan (San Clemente, Calif.) provided additional help with 13 and 11 kills, respectively with Walker totaling three blocks compared to Dolan's four blocks. Fellow senior Brylee Frank (Palm City, Fla.) was terrific as she directed the Wildcat offense with 41 assists while contributing six kills, four total blocks and eight digs. Junior Elyssa Nichols (San Francisco, Calif.) patrolled the back line effort as she gathered a game-high 22 digs with classmate Bella Oldham (Irvine, Calif.) picking up 12 digs.
There are just six games remaining in the 2019 campaign for Rivier with their next contest scheduled for Thursday night at Emerson College (7pm). Johnson & Wales will return to action on Saturday afternoon as they travel to Standish, Maine for a GNAC tri-match with the hosts Saint Joseph's College (Me.) and Lasell University. First game against the Monks is scheduled for 3pm.