The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

No. 3 St. John’s Volleyball Faces Loss to No. 1 Creighton in Big East Championship

Torch Photo / Megan Chapman

After a gutsy 3-2 comeback win against No.2 seeded Marquette, St. John’s Volleyball got swept 3-0 against top seeded Creighton in the Big East Championship game held at the Al McGuire Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The game marked Creighton’s ninth tournament title in 10 seasons, their only loss in those 10 years coming from the Red Storm back in 2019

Going into the game, St. John’s (23-9) led the Big East in blocking with 242.5 on season, but failed to execute that against the Bluejays. Creighton (25-4) came into the game with fresh legs, after they earned a bye to the semi-final game of the tournament. The first two sets were lopsided in the Bluejays favor as a master class in their offensive slide was displayed.  

St. John’s was led by All-Tournament players outside hitter Lucrezia Lodi and setter/ride-side hitter Erin Jones. The pair tallied 14 kills collectively. Junior outside hitter Georgia Walther followed close behind the duo with six kills on her own. 

Right out of the gate, Creighton started out with a 4-0 scoring run that forced St. John’s into their first time out of the first set. The Johnnies entered the set after the timeout with a slam from middle blocker Magda Stombroska down the middle. She collected three kills and two aces throughout the entire match.  

Creighton came back with two points to promptly bring the match to 6-1. After coming off of an upset win against Marquette the night before, St. Johns looked fatigued and overpowered in the first set. Creighton’s offense was led heavily by veterans Norah Sis and Kiana Schmitt, who combined for five kills in the opening 13 points for the Bluejays. 

Any run that the Johnnies strung together was quickly crushed by Creighton in the first set. A few hard blocks and a stunning strike by Lodi brought the Johnnies to 18-10, but the scoring gap was too large to close altogether. At the end of the first set, 25-11, Creighton had a .400 hitting percentage compared to St. John’s .000. The Bluejays collected 16 kills compared to St. John’s six and held their errors down to four compared to St. John’s six. 

From the opening serve the same tone was set by Creighton in the second set as they got up 8-3 early on. St. Johns could not get past their line of defense in the front. 

With Creighton up 17-5, Lodi set up for a kill down the middle that was easily deflected by Creighton out of bounds. 

That play was followed by a huge sliding kill from Ava Martin of the Bluejays who gave it right back to Lodi and forced the ball out of bounds against their favor again. All momentum that St. Johns picked up was quickly turned around by Creightons impressive offense as the set finished out 25-9. 

Despite the lopsided scoresheet through the first two sets, St. Johns came out into the third looking more disciplined. The set opened up 4-3 in Creightons favor but consisted of much better execution from the Johnnies on offense and defense, allowing them to put some pressure on Creighton. 

The game was brought to 5-4 in St. John’s favor after head coach Joanne Persico called for a challenge on an ace that was called out initially. It allowed for a momentum shift for the Johnnies to go on a 3-0 run. 

For the rest of the set, St. Johns looked better physically on the court. They held it close the entire set, going 20-19 and forcing Creighton to take a time out with their one-point lead. 

Head coach Joanne Persico challenged a tip from Creighton with the score at 23-20 and allowed St. Johns some time to regroup. They came out of the failed challenge with Jones getting a big hit to bring it to 23-21. 

The Johnnies were resilient in the final set of the match but could not get it done against Creighton. The last set, 25-23, finished with two kills from Schmitt and Martin for the Bluejays. 

Although it was not enough to win the Big East Championship, the Johnnies’ effort this season and through the tournament earned them a home advantage in the first round of National Invitational Volleyball Championship against Howard on Dec. 1.

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About the Contributor
Isabella Cautero, Asst. Sports Editor
Isabella is a junior journalism student serving as an Assistant Sports Editor. She is minoring in sport management. Outside of The Torch, she likes to spend time with her friends, read, go to the gym, play with her dog and watch the New York Yankees or Rangers play. On any given day you can find her listening to her favorite artists, Taylor Swift and Harry Styles. 

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    Anthony CauteroNov 30, 2023 at 6:17 pm

    Go Red Storm! Good luck in the NIT