Volleyball Still Searching for First Conference Win

The St. John’s volleyball team remains winless in the Big East after losing 3-1 (25-18, 20-25, 22-25, 11-25) at Connecticut on Oct. 15.
The loss was viewed as a missed opportunity by senior middle hitter Darlene Ramdin as UConn (11-10, 1-5) entered the game winless in the Big East as well.
“All our games are important,” Ramdin said, “but this one was especially very important, because we had the same record in conference, so we needed to get a win.”
The Red Storm (9-14, 0-6) won the first set, but lost the next two.
Down two sets to one, head coach Joanne Persico decided to switch her usual setter Sabina Piegza to Gabriella Petkova, who hasn’t played the position very much this season, in an effort to give the team a spark.
But the Huskies took an early 10-3 lead and eventually won the fourth set and the match as the Johnnies never found a rhythm and weren’t able to catch up.
“By that point I think I was looking for some magic,” Persico said about switching setters. “But it didn’t really help the situation.”
Persico added that losing the third set was very important, because it allowed the Huskies to control momentum.
In the third set the Johnnies took an early 7-0 lead behind kills from senior Anzelika Lukjanska, freshman Ashley Boursiquot, senior Brunna Kronbauer and junior Sabina Piegza.
Then UConn fought back and slowly tied the set, 18-18, and won, due in part to three attacking errors and one ball-handling error by Red Storm players.
Errors also played a major role in how the Johnnies lost the second set, as they had nine errors and never held a lead.
The only bright moment for the Red Storm was winning the first set. There were six ties and three lead changes, until the Johnnies took a five-point lead, 18-13, and maintained the lead to win the set behind three kills by Ramdin.
Ramdin led the Johnnies with 13 kills and three blocks in the game.
“We started off with great energy and had energy throughout the game,” said Ramdin. “We struggled a little bit today, but we had some good moments. We just didn’t get what we expected.”
Sabina Piegza, Paulina Piegza and sophomore libero Korina Yee also had big nights. Sabina Piegza helped with 32 assists, Paulina Piegza had 11 kills, and Yee had 17 digs, but their efforts weren’t enough to earn a win.
Persico said that the team is playing with a lot of emotion, but will have to stay focused and improve for their upcoming games.
“I think we just need to work on our hitter’s ability to put the block up a little better and aggressively swing at the ball,” she said.  “I thought we we’re really close, but we let it get away from us.”
The next game for the Red Storm will be on the road against Georgetown on Oct. 21.