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

Big East Split

This past weekend the St. John’s volleyball team earned a split in their first Big East action of the year, beating Syracuse, 3-1, and falling to Notre Dame, 3-1.

On Friday night, the Red Storm won its Big East conference opener with a win over Syracuse, 3-1 (30-27, 27-30, 30-27, 30-20). St. John’s was led by senior Sarah McCrary, who recorded a double-double with 20 kills on 40 attempts for a .295 hitting percentage and 11 digs.

“I think we performed well,” McCrary said. “In the second game, we started off a little slow, but then after that we came into our game and we started playing the way we should play.

“We all played together as a team.”

Jackie Ahlers accounted for 18 kills on 38 attempts with five digs, while setter Robyn Kurasaki racked up 53 assists. Rosalyn Dang contributed with 13 kills on 22 attempts for a .545 hitting percentage.

On Sunday afternoon, the Johnnies lost to Notre Dame, 3-1 (26-30, 30-25, 20-30, 29-31) in a thrilling match.

The Red Storm were two points away from forcing a fifth and deciding game but could not capitalize.

“For the first time ever, we beat Notre Dame in a game, and then we took them to 31-29 in the fourth game so we had a chance to go to a tie-breaker game. The girls were really performing at a high level,” St. John’s Head Coach Joanne Persico-Smith said of her team’s effort against Notre Dame. “They had a lot of people at the stadium, so it was exciting and it was a great atmosphere,”

Once again, St. John’s was led by McCrary and Kurasaki, who each recorded a double-double.

McCrary tallied 19 kills on 66 attempts along with 17 digs, while Kurasaki dished out 50 assists and added 14 digs.

Ahlers continued her strong play, recording 20 kills on 47 attempts for a .255 hitting percentage.

“Jackie is extremely poised in pressure situations. She does not play like a freshman. She could take over a match at any time,” Persico-Smith said of her first-year sensation.

“We actually surprised a lot of people and surprised ourselves,” Ahlers said. “We did not think that we would play as well against Notre Dame. No one thought that we would take at least a game from them and that every game would be as close as it was.”

The Red Storm’s remaining 14 matches will include 11 Big East opponents.

“The Big East is always competitive and exciting and is usually a high pressure environment but we are excited because we feel we are playing good volleyball,” Persico-Smith said.

“By the way we played against Notre Dame, I see us going undefeated from here on out in conference play,” Ahlers said of her team’s chances in the Big East. “Playing that well against Notre Dame gave us that extra confidence to know that we can bring the team to the Final Four in the Big East tournament.”

St. John’s is now 12-8 overall (1-1 Big East). This upcoming weekend, the Johnnies will host Pittsburgh on Friday night and take on West Virginia Sunday afternoon.

The first 50 people who arrive at Alumni Hall Friday night for the Red Storm’s game against Pittsburgh will receive a free volleyball. First serve is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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