Sometimes things happen for a reason. And it was purely by coincidence that St. John’s volleyball star Patti Hardimon is even at St. John’s to begin with.
Hardimon met St. John’s volleyball coach Joanne Persico-Smith one day while coaching at a volleyball camp, and Persico-Smith saw all she needed in the drills to determine that Hardimon had a bright future in volleyball. According to Hardimon, if it was not for that chance meeting, she might not even be playing volleyball right now.
“I wouldn’t be playing at St. John’s, and I don’t know if I’d be playing anywhere,” Hardimon said.
And it’s a good thing that Persico-Smith found Hardimon. Hardimon is the nucleus of a Red Storm volleyball team that is off to its best start in school history, and showing no signs of slowing down.
“If they maintain their consistency and hard work, I think they can go all the way,” Persico-Smith said.
Hardimon, who hails from Honolulu, Hawaii, began playing volleyball at age 11, encouraged by the mother of fellow teammate Kathleen Yee, also from Honolulu. After realizing she had a knack for it, she continued to play volleyball competitively throughout middle school and into high school, when she met Persico-Smith.
Hardimon works hard in the off-season to stay in shape, and even spends her summers playing volleyball against men in her native Hawaii.
“They have higher nets and they hit the ball a lot harder [in Hawaii],” Hardimon said.
Hardimon also admits that professional volleyball is an option, though the sports management major says that she has only talked lightly about it with coach Persico-Smith.

“I’ve thought about the possibility of playing pro,” Hardimon said. “I think it’d be cool.”

St. John’s faces a dilemma after this season, as Hardimon, a senior, will be graduating. To counteract that, the team has been trying to take talented players from other schools looking for a chance to play in the competitive Big East.

“We’ve been trying to reload instead of recruit,” Persico-Smith said. “It’s tough to predict though, and we’re fully aware that next season might not be as good as this one. It’s nice to have a core group of players.”

However, the concern of the volleyball team right now is going as far as they can in the post season.

“Right now we’re focused on this year,” Persico-Smith said, whose team just barely missed the NCAA tournament last season.

And it is clear that Hardimon, who has posted career numbers this season, is focused on the ultimate prize as well.