Volleyball: Seniors say good-bye

Keisha Raymond, Staff Writer

In front of a full-house at Carnesecca Arena on Sunday afternoon the St. John’s women’s volleyball team (18-13 overall and 8-8 in the Big East) defeated DePaul (16-13 overall, 4-12 Big East) 3-2 (25-20, 16-25, 25-21, 21-25, 15-6) on Senior Day. It was the Red Storm’s first win on Senior Day since Nov. 7, 2010.

Carnesecca was packed with family and friends who came to show love and support for the team and the senior class. Each senior (Karin Palgutova, Yaidy Santiago, Artiana Wynder, Briana Guzman, Shawna-Lei Santos and Deniz Mutlugil) received a plaque and flowers before the start of the matches by St. John’s University President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, PhD and the Associate Vice President of Athletics Kathleen Meehan.

“These seniors are great student-athletes and they have worked hard every day for the past four years,” head coach Joanne Persico said. “They respect each other and play hard for one another and their school. We will miss them because they can’t be replaced.”

“I didn’t expect to make school history and my biggest lesson at St. John’s was how to be a leader,”senior Karin Palgutova said. Palgutova became the all-time career leader in kills this season passing Jackie Ahlers (2002-04.)

Palgutova had 22 kills and 14 digs for her 13th double-double of the season along with five blocks. Fellow senior  Santiago collected 12 kills and 10 digs (her fourth double-double of the season plus three service aces tied a career-high).

Sophomore Julia Cast and Freshman Margherita Bianchin both had strong games. Cast collected 10 kills and a .400 attacking percentage and Bianchin did a little bit of everything with 12 kills, six digs, two aces and two blocks.

Senior Shawna-Lei Santos had a fifth double-double in a row with 32 assists (team-high) and 17 digs.

Sophomore Delaney D’Amore finished the game with 10 digs and three assists.

After losing the second set, the Red Storm took the third behind 14 assists from Santos. The third set had six ties, the last one at 20-20 but St. John’s went on a 5-1 run to take a 2-1 lead.

DePaul won the fourth set 25-21 to force a fifth and final set. The Blue Demons had a .371 attacking clips while forcing the St. John’s to a .243 attacking percentage. With the set tied at 2-2 the Red Storm went on an 8-1 run, which forced DePaul to call a timeout. With the crowd rocking Carnesecca Arena the Red Storm held the Blue Demons to one point the rest of the way to take the match and final set, 15-6.

St. John’s finishes the 2015 regular season on the road with two games against Seton Hall and Villanova. The Red Storm play Seton Hall Pirates on Friday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at Walsh Gym in South Orange, N.J., then the Villanova Wildcats on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Jake Nevin Fieldhouse in Villanova, Pa.