St. John’s eliminated in Big East Tournament

Led by senior Maria Pongonis, who had a match-high 19 kills and 20 digs and redshirt freshman Jessie Nevitt, who hit .400 on 13 kills with just one error, Cincinnati defeated St. John’s, 3-1 (30-22, 30-22, 28-30, 31-29), in the first quarterfinal match of the Big East volleyball championship at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville.

St. John’s will anxiously await the announcement of the 64-team 2005 NCAA Division I women’s volleyball championship pairings, which will be announced Nov. 27 live on ESPNews.

For St. John’s (23-9, 9-5), reining Big East rookie of the week Hui Ping Huang led the offensive attack with 19 kills.

The two teams battled point-for-point until the Bearcats took the lead for good on a kill by sophomore Erin Maldo, 19-18. The Bearcats rattled off six unanswered points to take game one, 30-22. Cincinnati committed just one attack error with 11 kills en route to a torrid .370 hitting percentage in the first game, while holding the St. John’s to just .059.

The Red Storm led by as much as four at 12-8 early in the second game, but the Bearcats tied the score at 17-17 after a 9-5 run. They then outscored the Red Storm by a 13-5 margin to seal the 30-22 game two win. UC hit .324 in game two and held SJU to a .125 mark.

Despite continuing its cold hitting (.093 in game three) offensively, the defense of St. John’s kicked in to force 10 attack errors en route to .022 hitting in the third game.

The fourth game was the most evenly matched as both teams exchanged leads throughout before the Bearcats prevailed with a 31-29 win. Cincinnati hit .200 in that game, while St. John’s swung at a .182 clip.

For the match, St. John’s outblocked Cincinnati by a 23-17 margin.