On Saturday afternoon, the St. John’s volleyball team (16-9, 5-5 Big East) fought hard to overcome a slow start and win its second consecutive four-set match (23-25, 25-19, 25-22, 25-14) in an away meet against Providence (4-20, 0-10 Big East). The Red Storm managed a .280 attacking percentage during the match, including a .361 percentage in the final set, while the Friars were held to a .146 percentage.
Junior Karin Palgutova led the way for SJU by notching her 10th double-double of the season, finishing with a match-high 21 kills and 17 digs. The Slovakia-native recorded a .288 percentage, and added two service aces and a pair of blocks (one solo). Senior captain Aleksandra Wachowicz was offensively prolific for St. John’s as she finished with 17 kills, four digs and three assists. The Poland-native also managed two service aces, increasing her total to 36 for the season. Coming into the match against Providence, Wachowitz was leading the Big East in service aces and tied forfirst overall nationwide.
Junior Deniz Mutlugil played her best match since returning from an injury layoff a couple of weeks ago. Mutlugil drove the offense for SJU and finished with 54 assists, eight digs and two service aces. This is the third time this season that Mutlugil has reached 50 assists or more for a match. Junior Shawna-Lei Santos helped solidify the defense for the Red Storm after tallying a match-high 23 digs.
Middle blockers – senior Ashley Boursiquot and sophomore Briana Guzman, recorded a combined 11 kills. Boursiquot managed a .400 attacking percentage with eight kills on 15 attempts, as Guzman added three kills on six attempts for a .333 percentage.
Freshman Julia Cast continued her tremendous play at the net, recording seven kills, four blocks, and two digs. Sophomore Mona Karkkainen added spark for the Red Storm from the bench, finishing with five kills and an impressive .571 percentage.
Collectively, St. John’s finished with 68 kills: the most this season, 68 digs, and 64 assists. The Red Storm also confirmed their status as one of the best serving teams in the country by finishing the match with 6 six aces.
After losing the first set 25-23, St. John’s improved their defense and held the Friars to a .062 hitting percentage in the second set. SJU led the entire frame and clinched the set 25-19 behind 14 assists from Mutlugil and seven kills by Palgutova,
The third set was more even as there was five tie scores early. With the score tied at 9-9, the Friars went on a 4-1 run to take a 13-10 lead, prompting a time-out call from St. John’s. The Red Storm then trailed most of the set until a Palgutova kill late in the frame got the team within one (22-21), which in turn led to a time-out by Providence. St. John’s eventually took the set 25-22 after going on a 4-0 run.
The Red Storm came out aggressively in the fourth set, playing out an 18-10 lead to force the Friars to call a time-out. St. John’s kept the pressure up following the time-out as Wachowicz extended the lead to ten (22-12) with her 36th, league leading, ace of the season.
Providence would only manage two more points as the Red Storm won the set 25-14 and match, 3-1.
St. John’s concludes its home-and-home series against Seton Hall and Villanova at home this weekend. The Red Storm will take on the Pirates in Carnesecca Arena on Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m., and the Wildcats in Taffner Field House on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 7 p.m.