Volleyball loses in five sets to Blackbirds

The St. John’s volleyball team is no stranger to playing in five-set matches.


Unfortunately, it has become accustomed to losing such matches.
The Red Storm lost in five sets for the second time in three days, this time to LIU on Sept. 13 (14-25, 25-15, 21-25, 25-23, 15-10) at the Wellness Center in Brooklyn.


The loss dropped the Red Storm to 7-6 on the season, with a 1-3 mark in five set matches this season.


“The bottom line is, you get to a fifth game, you need to rise to the occasion,” said head coach Joanne Persico. “You need to be a champion. You need to have somebody on the court that can lead and make big plays. So I’m disappointed in that. We’re still trying to figure that out.”


Senior Brunna Kronbauer led the team with 12 kills and 15 digs in the losing effort, while senior Darlene Ramdin had 10 kills.


The Red Storm got off to a fast start and won the first set, 25-14. But they couldn’t maintain the momentum, and lost the second set by a score of 25-15.


“We came out, we really gave it to them in the first set, so I tip my hat off to LIU,” Persico said. “We really socked it to them in that game, and they came back and made the adjustments.”


The Red Storm rebounded and won the third set, 25-21. The two teams then had a very close, back-and-forth fourth set, which LIU won 25-23 to force a fifth set, something the Red Storm did not want.


“I thought we did a good job in set three, but in set four, they were close, close, close,” said Persico. “On the road, that’s a set that you have to win,. You don’t want to go into a fifth set against a team like that.”


They went on to lose the set and the match, 15-10.


Persico pointed to blocking as the main issue in the set.


“Our blocking in the fifth set was not adequate,” said Persico.  “We couldn’t get the ball up.  I thought they did a good job of solidifying it, making big plays when they needed to.  We switched at 8-6, and we just couldn’t maintain the momentum.”


Even after the loss, Persico said she was pleased with the play of both juniors Sabina Papala and Paulina Piegza.


“Sabina Papala, our middle blocker, did a fine job. She had no errors, and she probably should’ve gotten the ball a bit more tonight,” she said. “Paulina was pretty solid on the right side, so that was a nice positive aspect.”


After a difficult loss, the Red Storm will look to rebound at the Columbia Invitational this weekend.


“It’s a process, and hopefully we can just continue to improve, and not let that happen again,” Persico added. “It’s
not a good feeling, but you have to have these feelings in order to get better and improve.”