St. John’s pulled off the stunning upset beating number 7 ranked Creighton in five sets (25-19, 25-22, 17-25, 19-25, 17-15) Friday evening. Resiliency proved to be the difference maker for one of the biggest victories in the history of St. John’s Volleyball.
“We had one of the greatest wins of the St. John’s Volleyball program,” said Coach Joanne Persico. The Red Storm (15-11) came out of the gates red hot and took an 2-0 lead entering the locker room but Creighton (15-6) showed why they’re the seventh ranked team in the nation by pulling out the next two sets evening the match at 2-2. St. John’s fought off two match points and eventually pulled off the fifth set in thrilling fashion.
“I like the way we came out, we were focused, energetic and we made some great plays,” Persico said. “That fifth set we were hungry and we really played passionate but smart volleyball.”
This was the first match ever between these two teams and it did not disappoint. With Creighton being a tough opponent at home (7-2) and the preseason poll picking them to win the Big East, St. John’s had their work cut out for them. Outside hitter Yaidy Santiago rose to the occasion by having her best performance of her career with 15 kills and 12 digs.
“I really felt like I had to help my team,” Santiago said. “We have a lot of injured people and someone has to come up from the bench.”
Persico praised Santiago’s play, “Yaidy has always been a great teammate and a hard worker, and tonight was her break through game.”
Santiago wasn’t the only one who stepped up in this toe-to-toe matchup. Outside hitter Karin Palgutova had two clutch kills to end the match and finished with19 kills and 7 digs overall. Sophomore Shawna-Lei Santos piled up a game high 27 digs.
“We needed everyone and everyone did a great job,” added Santiago. “We were fighting, we’re fighters and we’ll never give up.”
This matched showed how tough and competitive this Big East conference can be and matches like this could help the Johnnies down the road.
“The Big East conference is better than ever,” added Persico. “It’s helping all of our teams to get tougher and better and be even more efficient.”
St. John’s will try to keep the momentum going on the road when they take on another Big East opponent DePaul next Friday at 4 p.m.