Western Volleyball opens 2012 with 3-0 win over Johnson & Wales


DANBURY, CT (Aug. 31) —  The Western Connecticut State University volleyball team won its 2012 season opener with a 3-0 win over visiting Johnson & Wales on the opening day of the Western Invitational at Feldman Arena Friday evening.  The match marked the debut of first-year head coach Don Ferguson.

In game one, Western ran out to an early 4-1 lead behind two kills by freshman Caitlin Van Camp (Redding, CT), and extended the lead to 8-3 on a kill by senior Paxton Thornton (Sharon, CT).  A Van Camp ace and another Thornton kill later pushed the Western advantage to 18-10, and Western coasted to a 25-18 game-one win.

In the second game, Johnson & Wales turned the tables on Western, jumping out to a 5-1 lead behind the serving of Kasey Higgins (Wallingford, CT), a block by Julie Snarr (Glen Allen, VA), and a kill by Alyssa Drapeau (Biddeford, Maine).  Western fought back, closing the margin to 9-8, but back to back points by Johnson & Wales prompted a Colonial timeout.  Coach Ferguson’s advice was well received by the Western players, as the Colonials went on a 12-3 run to claim a 20-14 lead.  An ace by sophomore Shirley Rodriquez (Rio Grande, Puerto Rico) and kills by sophomore Heather Williams (Kingston, NY) and Thornton down the stretch carried Western to a 25-16 win in game two.

The scoring in game three was close early, with the score tied at 4-4, but Western went on a 4-0 run behind an ace by sophomore Nina Wojtkiewicz (Griswold, CT) and a Thornton kill, and never looked back.  Western’s lead was 15-8 after an ace by sophomore Jennifer Hogan (Franklin Square, NY) and 21-11 after an ace by Wojtkiewicz, but Johnson & Wales went on a 9-3 run to narrow the margin to 24-20.  After a Western timeout, Johnson & Wales deposited its next serve into the net, give in the Colonials a 25-20 victory in game three and a 3-0 sweep for the match.

For the match, Thorton led Western with 12 kills, followed by Van Camp with 6.  Hogan handed out 20 assists to lead the Colonials.  Leading Johnson & Wales were Giselle Cram-Ortiz (Vega Alta, Puerto, Rico) with 25 digs and Drapeau who finished with six kills and eight assists.  Snarr added five kills.

With the win, Western opens the 2012 season at 1-0, while Johnson & Wales opens at 0-1.  Action at Feldman Arena continues throughout the day on Saturday and will conclude with Western facing Brandeis at 3:00pm.

Western            -      25    25    25    -     3
Johnson & Wales    -      18    16    20    -     0