St. John’s finishes 1-2 in West Point Invitational

Athletic Communications Photo

Athletic Communications Photo

Keisha Raymond, Staff Writer

St John’s had up and down showing at the West Point Invitational this past weekend. They lost to Albany, 3-1 (23-25, 20-25, 25-14, 13-25), and UConn, 3-2 (17-25, 21-25, 25-17, 25-15, 13-15), but defeated Delaware State, 3-0, (25-9, 25-12, 27-25).

The Red Storm comeback fell short against Albany. The Johnnies tried to make a run after dropping the first two sets to the Great Danes. Melissa Chin, Erica Di Maulo, and Margherita Bianchin each had terrific matches.

Chin had 20 digs (career-high) and Di Maulo collected 43 assists (match-high) and 13 digs. It was Di Maulo’s fifth double-double this season. Bianchin collected her second of the year with 13 kills and 10 digs. Gaia Traballi registered 14 kills, which was a team-high and Julia Cast had 11 assists.

In the first set, the Great Danes started the match on a 7-2 run but the Red Storm went on a 12-4 run to take a 14-11 lead. Albany came back to tie the score 20 and went on to win the first set, 25-23.

Albany held the Johnnies to a .169 attacking percentage in the second set to win 25-20, but the Johnnies came roaring back in the third set to win 25-15. The Red Storm had .224 hitting percentage and held the Great Danes to .175 clip. St John’s senior Mona Karkkainen tallied four kills in the third set and .467 hitting percentage in the match.

The Great Danes won the fourth set 25-13 with help from Laini Leindecker,who had 15 kills (match-high) and Nicole Otero with 19 digs (match-high).

After coming up short in their match against Albany, St John’s rebounded with a sweep against Delaware (25-9, 25-12, 27-25). This was the eight-time that the Johnnies had swept an opponent this season.

The Red Storm (9-3) dominated on offense and defense. They have .369 hitting clip and forced Delaware into 18 errors.

Di Maulo had another strong outing with 22 assists (match-high). Hope Demel came up with 11 assists off the bench and Cast collected 10 kills (match-high). Amanda Sanabia contributed with 11 digs (team-high).

In the West Point Invitational final, the Red Storm (9-4) suffered a hard-fought loss against Connecticut (9-2) on Saturday. The Huskies defeated the St. John’s, 3-2 (17-25, 21-25, 25-17, 25-15, 13-15).

Junior Danish Moss had an outstanding day for the Red Storm. She finished with 10 kills (career-high), a .692 attacking percentage, and 10 total blocks. It was her first career double-double and she also hit the 200 career mark in total blocks.

Di Maulo also had a big match in the loss with 40 assists and attacking percentage that was perfect. Bianchin contributed 19 kills and had a .436 for the match. Gaia Traballi also came away with her third double-double of the season, 11 kills and 13 digs.

The Johnnies registered 16 blocks as a team against the Huskies, which was a season-high. They also had a .264 hitting percentage and held Connecticut to a .216 clip.

Di Maulo was named to the West Point Invitational All-Tournament Team. It was her fourth All-Tournament Team selection for the season.

For the Johnnies, it was a bittersweet end to their non-conference schedule, but for the seventh consecutive season, they have recorded over nine wins in non-league play.