Off To The Tournament
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It was an up-and-down weekend for the St. John’s Volleyball team. Needing a win on Senior Night Friday against DePaul to guarantee a spot in the eight-team Big East tournament, the team failed to seize the opportunity, falling 3-1 (25-17, 18-25, 22-25, 22-25) to put its conference tournament status in jeopardy.
But the Red Storm’s (20-11, 7-8) weekend went from bad to good in a flash, when Seton Hall fell to Syracuse on Sunday, backing the Johnnies into the final place in the tournament. It’s the first time they’ve qualified since 2008.
“We’re excited to have another opportunity to play again,” said St. John’s head coach Joanne Persico. “We’re happy our seniors can experience the playoffs since some of them have not been there in a while.”
Next up? The regular season conference champion, No. 11 Louisville. The teams square off on Friday at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, Wis.
History might be on St. John’s side. The last time the two teams sqaured off in the Big East Tournament was in 2007, when the Johnnies swept aside the Cardinals en route to the conference tournament title.
The Nov. 16 matchup will be the second meeting between the Johnnies and the Cardinals this season. The first encounter took place on Oct. 12 when Louisville defeated the Red Storm 3-2 (21-25, 25-19, 25-20, 19-25, 15-9).
Friday’s loss against DePaul saw the Johnnies’ five seniors (Piegza, Petkova, Asing, Krstojevic, and manager Brennan Johnson) awarded for their contributions to the program.
Middle blocker Milica Krstojevic reflected on her career at St. John’s.
“It’s sad, especially since the season went by so fast,” she said. “I didn’t realize it until today. St. John’s is a helpful and respectful team. We are a family and coach tries hard for that to happen. It’s a supportive school, which is rare to find.”
Persico said that it is a “bittersweet” feeling, but she is proud of the work and time the seniors have put into the program.
No matter the outcome Friday in what could potentially be her senior players final game, Persico is proud of the way they have played, managing to put St. John’s volleyball back on the map.
“It is a great time for the volleyball program,” Persico said. “We feel the program is headed into the right direction again.”