The Red Storm fell short of recording a comeback victory on the road against Marquette on Friday night, losing a highly-contested match to the Golden Eagles by a score of 3-1 (19-25, 21-25, 26-24, 24-26). The narrow defeat means that St. John’s has now fallen 17-11 and 6-7 in the Big East, while Marquette moved to 21-6 overall and 11-3 in league play.
The Red Storm had two players register double-doubles and two others record career-highs. Senior Ashley Boursiquot had one of her best games for the team, achieving 11 kills with a .273 attacking percentage. Junior Karen Palgutova racked up 20 kills and 11 digs for her 12th double-double of the season, while classmate Deniz Mutlugil drove the offense with 31 assists and 14 digs to record her second double-double of the year. Sophmores Mona Karkkainen and Briana Guzman combined for 15 of SJU’s 18 blocks. Karkainen had three kills and a career-high seven blocks, while Guzman delivered five kills and matched her career-high in blocks with eight. Senior captain Aleksandra Wachowicz also had five kills, along with an ace, with her team leading 38th of the season.
Junior Shawna-Lei Santos led the defense with 27 digs, six assists and two service aces. Morgan Thomas and Delaney D’Amore were both key for the defense as well, contributing seven and eight digs, each.
“We went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in the conference and in the country and I am extremely proud of how we competed tonight,” said head coach Joanne Persico. “I thought Ashley Boursiquot gave it everything she had and showed this fighting spirit that we need out of every single player. In the third and fourth set, our team showed some fight and battled with a tough Marquette team on the road, but we will use this match as motivation as we get ready for DePaul.”
The Red Storm started slowly in the opening set as Marquette jumped out to 6-1 lead, prompting a timeout call from St. John’s. The Red Storm battled back after going on a 4-0 run to get within two (13-11), which then forced Marquette to call a timeout. Boursiquot was superb for the Red Storm as she had a 1.000 attacking percentage with three kills. Palgutova led the team with five kills whilst hitting .308. A Palgutova kill got St. John’s within three late (22-19), but a kill by Autumn Bailey followed by an ace from Nele Barber, won Marquette the set 25-19.
The second set was much closer, as there were 12 tie scores and five lead changes. The Red Storm was held to a .195 hitting percentage, while the Golden Eagles hit .236 in the frame. Halfway through the set, Marquette made back-to-back errors, which forced them to call a timeout while trailing St. John’s 12-9. Marquette would eventually take a two-point lead (18-16) after an attack error by Wachowicz, followed by a Lindsey Gosh kill. St. John’s fought throughout the set and got within one late (22-21), but Marquette closed out the set after a 3-0 run to win the frame and take a 2-0 lead in the match.
St. John’s refused to go down without a fight, jumping out to a 10-6 lead to open the third set. The Red Storm defense was stellar as they held Marquette to a .102 attacking percentage. St. John’s also posted 23 digs in the frame, as the Golden Eagles recorded 19. Santos led the defense charge with 10 digs in the set. Guzman chipped in three blocks. Boursiquot was all over the court as she tallied three kills, a block and her first service ace of the season, which gave St. John’s a 20-17 lead. Marquette battled back and tied the set at 24-24 after back-to-back kills by Bailey, but the Red Storm recovered to take the set 26-24 after a kill by Karkkainen and an attack error by Marquette.
The fourth and final set was similar to the third. Once again, St. John’s came out aggressively and was close throughout the set, as there were 15 tie scores and six lead changes. A service ace by Santos, her second of the game, tied the score at 22-22, forcing Marquette to call a timeout. A ball-handling error by Marquette tied the match again at 24-24 late, but back-to-back kills by Bailey gave the Golden Eagles the set 26-24 and the match 3-1.