St. John’s finishes second at Jack Kaiser Classic

Keisha Raymond, Staff Writer

The St. John’s volleyball team came up just short in the Jack Kaiser Volleyball Classic, placing second in the annual tournament.

The Red Storm started off the tourney winning straight sets for the fourth time this season. The win came against George Mason 3-0 (25-16, 25-19, 25-16) at Carnesecca Arena in the opener of the Jack Kaiser Volleyball Classic on Friday.

The Johnnies (6-2) have now won five in a row because of the play of Senior outside hitter Karin Palgutova. Palgutova had 18 kills and 11 digs (her third double-double of the season) with a hitting clip of .382. Another star of the game was freshman outside hitter Margherita Bianchin, who recorded her first career double-double with 10 kills and 14 digs along with a .318 hitting percentage.

Senior setter Deniz Mutlugil also had a great game with 39 assists (match high) and 10 digs. It was Mutlugil’s first double-double of the season.

The Red Storm St. John’s had a strong defense game, holding George Mason to a .117 hitting percentage, and had a digging edge of 57-34. The Red Storm finished the game with a season-high .359 hitting clip.

St. John’s defense was on fire again later in the day. They would  sweep Central Connecticut State 3-0 (25-18, 25-10, 25-20) as well.

Mutlugil continued her strong play for the Johnnies in the tournament.

Mutlugil has average 13.6 assist per set and recorded 43 assists with three digs. Outside hitter Karin Palgutova had 13 kills and 14 digs (her fourth double-double of the season).

Both Pelin Aroguz and Margherita Bianchin had outstanding game. Aroguz had 12 kills with a .417 hitting percentage and Bianchin finished with nine kills and .333 hitting clips. Senior Yaidy Santiago recorded five kills and one block off the bench.

After sweeping George Mason and Central Connecticut State on Friday night, the Johnnies defeated Cornell in a hard fought contest 3-1 (25-17, 25-19, 21-25, 251-21).

“I thought our first two sets were great and we were in a good rhythm. We got into a tight set with them in the third where a couple of points just didn’t go our way, but I was proud of the way my team responded,” head coach Joanne Persico said.

The Johnnies took the first two sets and  Cornell would take the third. The fourth set would be full of entertainment.

Outside hitter Margherita Bianchin had a career high 20 kills and a .459 hitting clip, Mutlugil had her second double-double with 44 assists and 11 disg.

Cornell got within three (19-16) during the fourth set, but that would be as close as they would get as the Red Storm took control of the game to win 25-21.

Outside hitter Karin Palgutova recorded 17 assists plus eight digs. Palgutova also had a .538 attacking percentage. Argouz came away with nine kills, six digs and four blocks, and middle blocker Julia Cast registered six kills and four blocks.

In the championship round of the Jack Kaiser Volleyball Classic at Carnesecca Arena, St. John’s (8-3) came up short against San Francisco (10-0). San Francisco won 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-18).

Outside hitter Karin Palgutova recorded eight kill, four digs and two blocks, Deniz Mutlugil had 23 assists, four digs, and one service ace.

For the tournament, Palgutova averaged 4.31 kills and 2.85 digs per set  and Mutlugil average 11.4 assist and 2.15 digs per set.

The Red Storm finished the tournament with .308 attacking percentage, 14.6 kills per set, 180 digs (13.8 digs per set), 180 assists (13.8 per set) and 29 blocks (2.23 per set).

Palgutova and Mutlugil were named to the All-Tournament team.