A year ago, the St. John’s volleyball team barely had enough players to field a team each game, much less to
continue dominance in the Big East.
The Red Storm only had roughly seven players that played regularly, and they stumbled to a 9-21
record and a 13th-place finish in the conference. This was a tough situation for a program that had previously won the last three conference championships.
But this season, with a full squad that includes several newcomers such as junior transfer Brunna Kronbauer, the Red Storm are off to a 10-3 start, and have already exceeded their win total from a year ago.
Kronbauer, second on the team with 99 kills [entering Tuesday’s game against Fordham], came from Northeastern Junior College, where she was a Division I NJCAA second-team All American in 2009.
Head coach Joanne Persico values Kronbauer’s reserved demeanor, which she thinks brings a calming presence to the rest of the team.
“She doesn’t really show her emotions much at all, whether she’s playing really well or if she’s just trying to hold her own,” said Persico. “Sometimes in volleyball it’s nice to have a vocal leader, but sometimes it’s also nice to have people who are calming. I think she [Kronbauer] brings that calming presence. That’s important when you’re receiving a serve. You have to stay calm.”
One asset that Kronbauer has brought to the Red Storm this season is a good all-around skill set, according to Persico.
“She’s just getting better at figuring out our offense and what we expect,” she said. “She’s one of those players that can really get hot and roll off some points for us. She did it with serving one game, she did it with hitting in another.”
One player that has benefited greatly from the presence of Kronbauer and other talented transfers is junior Darlene Ramdin, who dominated the team’s box scores for the most of last season.
“I know I still have to do my job, and to lead and attack as I should and be a leader on
the court,” said Ramdin. “It’s been a great relief, because now Gabby [Petkova] doesn’t always have to set the ball to me all the time. Teams no longer say, ‘Okay, Darlene’s getting the set.’ Other teams don’t know who’s going to get the set, which gives us a balanced attack.”
Persico has been pleased with all her new players have adjusted to the Division I level.
“They’ve succeeded in gelling in the way we do things here at St. John’s, gelling
with our culture and our language, our conference, and the way we train,” said Persico. “They’ve exceeded my
expectations in the way that they’ve put aside their personal tendencies and have tried to adapt to the team.”