Two years running

The Big East Tournament was still five days away, but the No. 21 St. John’s volleyball team still managed to deliver a dramatic playoff-like finish as it closed-out the final game of the regular season with a victory over the University of South Florida.

Unable to finish off USF in a game three that would have given the Red Storm a sweep, the Bulls had new life in game four. With the score knotted at 9-9, the Bulls scored three straight points before a St. John’s timeout halted their momentum.

Seniors LaToya Blunt and Wioleta Leszczynska teamed up for a block that gave the Johnnies a 19-18 lead.

The Bulls refused to give up, as the two teams continued to trade points and the lead. The Red Storm found itself clinging to a 28-26 lead late in the game and finally shut down the USF attack. Blunt and Leszczynska once again teamed up for a block that gave the Red Storm a thrilling 30-26 game four victory and the match win.

Blunt led the way for the Red Storm, contributing a match-high 18 kills. Leszczynska added 56 assists, also the match-high.
The juniors also made their presence felt as Valeria Kovaleva had a double-double of 15 digs and 13 kills, and the Red Storm’s defensive specialist Lena Yee registered a match-high 20 digs.

The Red Storm took a quick lead in game one before the Bulls began to put up a fight, cutting a 16-8 St. John’s lead down to 17-14. But USF began to run out of gas as the Red Storm pulled ahead 29-19. After another attempt at a do-or-die rally to get within 29-23, any USF hopes for a comeback were squashed by a kill by Kovaleva.

Perhaps feeling drained by its comeback attempts in the first game, USF came out flat in game two. The second game was never in doubt as St. John’s nabbed a 30-16 game two victory.
With a sweep looming over its head, USF began to show some mettle as it held a 26-24 lead late in game three. The Red Storm displayed some of its own perseverance, scoring twice to knot the game up at 26-26. The seesaw battle continued with USF registering the next three points before St. John’s came back with two of its own. The Bulls managed to outlast the Red Storm, as a service error by the Johnnies gave USF a 30-28 game three win.

With the victory, St. John’s finishes it’s 2007 regular season with a 28-3 record (13-1 Big East). The Big East Tournament is the next stop for the Red Storm as it heads into Milwaukee, Wis. on November 16.

St. John’s 3, Georgetown 1

Georgetown forced St. John’s into its first game four in over a month before becoming the Red Storm’s latest victim at McDonough Gymnasium on Friday night. St. John’s took the match 3-1 (30-15, 30-20, 29-31, 30-19)
Hui Ping Huang was at the center of the Johnnie attack, recording a match-high 21 kills. Wioleta Leszczynska had a double-double of 67 assists and 11 digs. Yee again led all players with 15 kills.

St. John’s last four-game match, a Red Storm victory, occurred at Cincinnati on November 7.