Volleyball goes 2-1 in Kaiser Classic

After suffering a loss in straight sets to Northeastern on Friday evening, the St. John’s volleyball team needed stars and newcomers alike to step up against Brown and Buffalo on Saturday in the Kaiser Classic.


They got it from the likes of senior mainstays Darlene Ramdin and Paulina Piegza and freshman debutant Ashley Boursiquot.


“Ramdin and Paulina both gave us a big lift, and Ashley Boursiquot, the freshman, went in and did a nice job up there,” said head coach Joanne Persico. “That was promising.”


When St. John’s took the floor to face Buffalo for their second match of the day, they had a slightly altered starting lineup.  Junior Sabina Papala, who came off the bench against Brown, started the match.


“We were looking for some energy, looking for some fresh legs, looking to move Darlene around a little bit,” Persico explained, “So in order to move around Darlene, we had to insert another person.  We put Papala back in.”


The Red Storm defeated the long and athletic Buffalo squad in four closely contested sets with scores of 25-10, 25-21, 21-25, and 25-23.


Despite her erratic serving, Darlene Ramdin led the team offensively with 11 kills and 3 digs.


As a four year veteran of the program, Ramdin has become a leader on the court.


“We’ve watched her develop into a leader, [and] watched her develop into a consummate player,” said Persico. “She can play multiple positions.”


Boursiquot, a local player from Long Island, finished her breakout weekend with 5 kills and 2 digs in front of her family and friends.


“Boursiquot was the big surprise from the weekend.  She hadn’t played any games before. She’s a great story, a local girl, here with her family.”


The Johnnies won their first match of the day on Saturday, 3-2, over Brown.


Junior libero/center Gabriela Petkova came six assists away from her career high of 55 against Brown.  She was named to the All-Tournament team along with Darlene Ramdin.


“I didn’t see the stats and I actually just realized how many assists I got,” said Petkova. “I’m just looking to set the ball in a good spot for my teammates and if they are playing well then I’m happy.”


The Red Storm were led by Ramdin with 15 kills and 8 digs, while Piegza had 13 kills, three away from her best career performance. She also had four assists which was a new career high.


After being down two sets to one, the Johnnies went on the attack and quickly quashed Brown’s momentum. They won the last two sets by large margins.  The final score for the match was 25-22, 19-25, 22-25, 25-12, 15-7.


Senior Brunna Kronbauer struggled early before regaining her focus and finishing with 10 kills and 14 digs.


“That’s why I do those substitutions,” said Persico. “Sometimes people have a hard time concentrating for those two and a half hours.  We try to give them a little break, a little relief, and hope that breaks their bad moments and creates some good energy.  That’s what I do with her and others and today it worked.”


The Northeastern match (23-25, 7-25, 15-25), which was the lone blemish for the Johnnies this weekend, saw them hit a season low .059 hitting percentage.


Ramdin, Papala, and freshman Aleksandra Wachowicz all contributed six kills, while Piegza helped out with 15 assists.