Volleyball goes 1-2 in Honolulu

In the most scenic fashion imaginable, the volleyball team (5-2) was handed its first two losses of the season this week as they finished the Hawaiian Airlines Wahine Volleyball Classic at 1-2 in Honolulu.

Coming off of four straight wins to open their season when they boarded their flight to Hawaii, the Johnnies knew their toughest competition of the season would be waiting for them when they landed. Facing teams like the 2013 NCAA Second-Round, 2012 Semifinalist Oregon Ducks, the New Mexico Lobos who finished 2013 with a 24-7 overall record and the home team from Hawaii which finished the 2013 season ranked No. 18 in the AVCA Coaches’ Poll, the Red Storm was really tested for the first time in the young 2014 season.

St. John’s began tournament play on Thursday, Sept. 4 with an 18-25 loss in the opening set to Oregon (6-0). They bounced back in the second set as senior captain Aleksandra Wachowicz dominated offensively to help lead the women to an even score, snagging the second set by a score of 25-20. But from that point on, the Johnnies were unable to crack the Duck’s defense. Oregon would finish the match with 14 blocks as they took the next two sets to win the match 3-1 being the first team to defeat the Red Storm this season.

The girls did return to their winning ways on Friday, however, as they swept the Lobos. Junior Karin Palgutova set the tone early in the match recording five kills in the opening set, leading the Johnnies to a 25-22 victory. She would finish the match with season-high 19 kills and the Red Storm would log its fourth sweep of 2014.

St. John’s finished the tournament on Saturday against the host team Hawaii. They opened the match riding the same victorious wave they were on from the day before as Deniz Mutlugil had 11 assists and helped the Johnnies take the first set 25-19. Unfortunately, that would be it for the Red Storm in the Aloha State as they struggled to overcome Hawaii’s defense and dropped the next three sets. The women did leave the tournament with a positive, though, as Palgutova was named to the All-Tournament Team.

The Johnnies will look to get back to their winning ways when they host the Jack Kaiser Volleyball Classic at Carnesseca Arena Sept. 12-13.