Volleyball Stuck in the Standing After Split

Besides playing with heart and determination as a coherent team, the most important thing for the St. Johnís volleyball team is to qualify for the Big East Tournament.

Out of 13 schools, only four will make the tournament.

ìThe Big East conference for volleyball is very similar to the menís basketball conference,î St. Johnís Head Coach Persico-Smith said. ìOne of the things about this conference is that it is very competitive and every team is competing for one of those four spots.î

In order for the Red Storm to advance to the tournament, they must play consistent for the remaining six games of the season. ìWe have to play consistent, aggressive and confident volleyball,î Persico-Smith said. ìIf we play consistent, low-error volleyball I think we could do it.î

The Johnnies helped their cause last Friday night, defeating Georgetown 3-2 (19-30, 30-22, 15-30, 30-27, 15-12) at Alumni Hall.

ìIt was a big win and we did what we had to do,î senior Sarah McCrary said. ?ìWe definitely wanted to get that one.î

ìIt was a touch and go, back-and-forth game,î Persico-Smith added. ìWe seem to play those games well, and it was just an incredible win.î

The Storm was led by freshman Jackie Ahlers, who accounted for team-high 26 kills and 10 digs. McCrary tallied 22 kills on 41 attempts for a .488 hitting percentage. ìWe had outstanding play from Jackie and Sarah,î Persico-Smith remarked.

Junior setter Robyn Kurasaki dished out 47 assists and added eight digs while freshman libero Shannon Engle added a team-high 14 digs on defense. Junior Rosalyn Dang recorded two service aces to move her into fifth place on the St. Johnís all-time list.

After a huge Big East win over the Hoyas, St. Johnís struggled against Villanova, losing 3-0, (20-30,23-30, 19-30) Sunday afternoon. ?

ìI would say that the Villanova loss has a lot to do with the Georgetown win,î senior captain Meaghan Creedon said. ?ìThe emotional exertion we put in is very tiring, and for the next day and a half, we are still recovering.î

ìWhen we win these tight games, we are a little emotionally spent,î added Persico-Smith.

The Wildcats controlled the whole match, outhitting the Red Storm .327 to .090.

Kurasaki led St. Johnís with 28 assists. ?Outside hitters Ahlers and McCrary struggled, combining for only 19 kills. ?

ìVillanova came out with more energy, and they did a great job of defending us, especially Jackie and Sarah,î Persico-Smith noted.

Villanovaís Kerri Sullivan recorded a match-high 14 kills, while Erin Birunas contributed with 12 kills.

Jenny Badran-Grycan addes 10 digs on defense.

The Johnnies now stand at 15-12 overall, with a 4-3 mark in the Big East. ?St. Johnís is in the middle of the pack, and has a chance to qualify for their first Big East Tournament since 1996.

Their next games are this weekend, when they travel to Miami and Virginia Tech. ?

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