Red Storm Stumble Against Gritty Bearcats

The St. John’s volleyball team looked to notch a conference victory under its belt after a touch loss to Louisville but were defeated 3-1 (25-14, 19-25, 25-18, 25-21) by Cincinnati on Sunday at Carnesecca Arena.

The loss was only the Red Storm’s (17-6, 4-3) third home loss of the season.

St. John’s head Coach Joanne Persico felt that the fast-paced level of play of Cincinnati (8-13, 6-2) gave the team problems.

“In the first set, we did not play at the level we needed to,” she said. “The third set was sloppy and Cincinnati’s speed, athleticism, and libero gave us problems. We gave up crucial points and cannot do that against good teams.”

Despite the loss, Persico is still in high hopes because of the amount of underclassman she has. At one point on Sunday,the whole front row of players were underclassmen.

“I think the underclassman are learning and growing with each Big East game,” said Persico. “They realize that the Big East conference is good. They play with guts and great courage.”

The transition from high school to college can be difficult for most freshmen, but the Red Storm underclassmen have handled it in stride.

“High school was a lot slower,” freshman Shawna-Lei Santos said. “Club Volleyball helped out a lot. The experience from that is helping me now.”

Lei-Santos and fellow freshman Karin Pulgatova have played in every match so far this season.

“I knew hard work was mandatory in order to get onto the court,” Santos said. “I knew I had to earn it because I am competing against others for the same spot.”

The Johnnies’ next match is Friday at Pittsburgh (12-10, 3-5).