The St. John’s volleyball team got off to a slow start last night, dropping the first two sets before storming back to take the next three against LIU (21-25, 23-25, 25-22, 25-15, 15-11).
LIU took the first two sets and were seemingly in control after taking a 5-0 lead early in the third set, but the Red Storm suddenly awakened and took the final three sets to pull out its second consecutive home win.
“Volleyball is all about momentum, which is hard to gain when you don’t have it,” said head coach Joanne Persico-Smith. “We got off to a slow start, but we’re happy with the result and we’re proud.”
Sophomore Darlene Ramdin led the Red Storm with 23 kills, while freshman Gabriela Petkova posted 52 assists on the night. Junior Kun Song also tallied 14 kills and 14 digs.
Freshman Ashley Asing led the team with 17 digs.
“Darlene has been tremendous, she’s our leader, and she just keeps getting better and better” said Persico-Smith.
“Gabriela has the hardest job of anyone, she’s filling some very big shoes and she did a very good job. She’s our quarterback, and when we get more players she will only get a lot better.”
“We wanted to win this game so badly, and we wanted to make all of our hard work worthwhile,” said Ramdin. “We weren’t leaving this gym until we won, that was our mentality.”
After taking the first and second sets of the match, LIU scored the first five points of the third set. St. John’s would battle back, and would tie the set at ten, before taking their first lead of the set at 12-11. St. John’s would not relinquish their lead, as they would go on to win a closely-contested set.
In the fourth set, the Red Storm took an early 14-5 lead, but the Blackbirds pulled to within four at 16-12. The Red Storm then went on a 6-0 run to take a commanding 23-13 lead, and Ruisa Scheffel ended the fourth set with a kill to send the match to a fifth set.
In the fifth set, St. John’s took an early lead at 8-5, and would keep their lead until LIU pulled to within 10-9 before a Darlene Ramdin kill would put the Storm up by two. A kill by Kun Song put the Red Storm up 13-10 before a Kayla Motoyama ace put the Storm at match point. The Storm won it on an attack error to complete a major comeback.
“Every win is important. We had a few not-so-good games, and so we had to show that we could win, and we knew we had to win,” added Petkova.
“This was a very important win, because our morale is higher, but we will have to play a lot better, and we know we’re capable of that,” said Persico-Smith.
The Red Storm open conference play against Depaul Friday at Taffner Fieldhouse.