Volleyball Loses Fourth Straight to end Road Trip

The St. John’s Volleyball team played nine games away from Carnesecca Arena over the last two weeks, but ended with a four-game losing streak with the final loss coming against the University of Cincinnati 3-0 (15-25, 23-25, 21-25)
on Sept. 25.

The team falls to 9-10 overall and 0-2 in Big East play, leaving the Red Storm searching for its first conference win of the season after also losing to Louisville in the Big East’s opening weekend.

“It was an intense road trip, as we played two teams that are receiving votes for top 25 in the nation out of a possible 340 division one volleyball teams,” said head coach Joanne Persico.

Playing in Fifth Third Arena, where the Bearcats came into the game undefeated in 41 attempts, the Red Storm found themselves down two sets in the third, battling head to head with the home team.

St. John’s maintained a tied score until the Bearcats jumped to a 17-13 lead after 4-0 rally, forcing the Johnnies to
take a timeout.

“We have been working very diligently at strategies and mental toughness and skill set to finish games,” Persico said. “I told them [during the timeout] what we thought they could expect from our opponent and how to respond.”

After the instructions from Persico, the Johnnies fought back, scoring eight points in an intense back-and-forth stretch. The effort wasn’t enough, however and the Bearcats held on to take the set
and the match.

St. John’s was dominated in the first set, 15-25, as the Bearcats never allowed the Red Storm to take a lead or tie the score. The Johnnies were limited to just ten kills, with a.111 hitting percentage and seven errors.

In the second set, the Red Storm jumped on the Bearcats with a 3-0 lead, showing some life on a couple blocks by junior middle blocker Sabina Papala. St. John’s held a 21-19 lead before the Bearcats surged back to win the set.

“In the first [set] at Cincinnati, the pace of the game was very fast and I think the team could not get the block up in time,” said Persico. “However, as the match progressed, we were not only getting the timing we were winning at times during the next two sets. We just need someone to step [up] as a leader and not worry about making the ‘big mistake’ and just take the team on her shoulders and get us over the proverbial hump.”

Senior Darlene Ramdin led the Red Storm with a team-high nine kills, and sophomore Yana Vavdiyuk had a career-high seven kills with a .538 hitting percentage. Senior right side hitter Paulina Piegza had eight kills with a .412 hitting percentage, while her sister, junior setter Sabina Piegza, had 32 assists.

Persico said that to get back into the winning column, the team needs to “finish stronger than [their] opponents and increase the level of their killer instincts.”

Next for the volleyball team is Syracuse in their Big East home opener at Carnesecca Arena on Oct. 1.