The Rundown

Statistically speaking, they are the best team at St. John’s. With a 19-1 record (95 winning percentage), an undefeated record in-conference and currently riding a 10-game winning streak, they have that pretty firmly locked up.

The volleyball team has shown dominating play, notching sweeps in 14 of their 19 victories. They feature outstanding players from all over the world like Patti Hardimon (Hawaii), Hui Ping Huang (China) and Wioleta Leszczynska (Poland). “You get international players and you hope they can mix with American players and they’ve done a good job,” said coach Joanne Persico-Smith.

They’ve even been regionally ranked as the No. 2 team in the Northeast Region by the RichKern.com/American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Regional Computer Index. That puts them above all the Big East schools, with a 19-point gap in RKPI between them and No. 3 Louisville.

So, how come they’re not nationally ranked yet? It’s something Persico-Smith wonders.

“I think we should be getting votes, at least,” she said. “I don’t know what I have to do, [do] I have to go to the polls?”

She was only joking, but she’s not the only one wondering. Her players have also noticed. Hardimon, in particular, feels that St. John’s has been underrated.

“People have been doubting us even though we beat South Carolina and Florida State. They’re like ‘Oh, St. John’s, we can beat them,'” she said.

Even against Cincinnati, “they thought they could take us,” Hardimon said. After a big 39-37 first-game win, the Bearcats looked surprised and mentally shaken. St. John’s won the next two games relatively easily.

“I’m glad we were able to crush any doubts anyone had about us,” Hardimon added.

They have certainly done that recently, beating highly regarded teams. “We’ve had some really big wins,” said Persico-Smith. “We beat a Florida State team, we beat a South Carolina team, [and] swept a pre-season No. 12 Louisville.”

“I think we should be getting votes at least,” she added.
To put it in context, the Red Storm is first in the Big East in opponent hitting average (.157), assists (244, 17.43 per game), kills (258, 18.43 per game), and digs (293, 20.93).

They also have personal stats, including Leszczynska’s 204 assists (first place), Huang’s 4.79 kills per game (fifth place) and Hardimon’s nine service aces (first place).

Nationally, the team is ranked fourth in kills per game and seventh in both assists per game and win-loss percentage (.944).

Some would argue that a ranking is just a number. While that is technically true, it is also says a lot.

It’s a nation-wide recognition of a team’s success. It boosts a team’s confidence and despite everything they say to the contrary, it is something they think about.

After the team offered their comments, they did indeed get the least of what they asked for: some votes. After defeating Louisville (who received votes last time) and Cincinnati, they received 11 votes, still far short of No. 25 Oklahoma (99 points) but it’s a start.

If they can keep it up until the end of the season, they have a chance to really display their talent nationwide.