Vball Splits Weekend Games Against Conference Foes

The St. John’s Volleyball team split two matches on the road this past weekend by winning 3-1 (23-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-19) against Syracuse on Friday and losing 3-1 (18-25, 15-25, 26-24, 16-25) to Marquette on Sunday.

With the Big East tournament quickly approaching, the Red Storm (19-10, 6-7) are now in a three-way tie for sixth place in the conference. Seton Hall, USF, and St. John’s do not have an advantage over each other because Seton Hall lost to St. John’s, St. John’s lost to USF, and USF lost to Seton Hall. If each team finishes with the same Big East record, a tiebreaker for seeding will come down to each team’s percentage of league points won.

The Johnnies’ game at Syracuse (10-18, 2-11) was a homecoming of sorts for St. John’s head coach Joanne Persico, as she graduated from Syracuse in 1987. This was the first time that the team defeated Syracuse since October 5, 2008.

Sophomore Aleksandra Wachowicz had 18 kills on a career best .406 hitting percentage while senior Gabriella Petkova led the match with 12 digs and had a service ace that led the Johnnies to a third set win. Freshman Shawna-Lei Santos accomplished her first double-double after hitting 11 kills and notching 11 digs. Senior Milica Krstojevic led the match with a .550 hitting percentage after going 13 on 20 attacks.

Although the Red Storm could not defeat Marquette, (23-4, 12-1) Persico believes positives can be taken out of the game.

“The team competed and played well,” Persico said. “The pace of Marquette is very fast and it took us a set or two to get used to the pace.” “We faced an injury, but the third set was neck and neck. We played some very good volleyball.”

Both Palgutova and Krstojevic had an impactful match. Palgutova led all hitters with 22 kills, which tied her career-high. She hit .391, her highest hitting percentage since September 15, and contributed three digs. After hitting her 48th service ace, Palgutova is now two away from having the second-most service aces in a season in St. John’s history.

Krstojevic had double-digit kills (12) for the sixth-straight match. She hit .526 and increased her 2012 hitting percentage to .340, the fourth highest season hitting percentage in St. John’s history. Between the two matches played this weekend, Krstojevic had a team-best .538 hitting percentage, 25 kills on 39 attempts, and led the team in blocks in both matches.

The Johnnies will compete in their last two matches of the regular season this week. They face a re-match against Rutgers (18-10, 4-9) on Nov. 7 before ending the season with a home match against DePaul (8-18, 3-10) on Nov. 9. The match against DePaul will be Senior Night where five Red Storm seniors (Sabina Piegza, Gabriela Petkova, Milica Krstojevic, Ashley Asing, and manager Brennan Johnson) will be honored.

“It’s so hard to believe that the season is almost over, it went [by] so fast this year,” Persico said.