The St. John’s volleyball team had an impressive outing Tuesday night, traveling into the Bronx and sweeping the Fordham Rams in straight sets 25-18, 25-22 and 25-17. Despite trailing in the first set 3-1, the Red Storm regained the lead quickly at 6-5 and never looked back. Efforts by Fordham to get close at 11-8 were quelled by three straight kills from senior Valeria Kovaleva. Kovaleva would help keep the Rams in St. John’s rearview with her constant offensive assault as the Red Storm took the first set 25-18.”Valeria is very versatile and other teams are trying very hard to stop her from getting in a good rhythm,” head coach Joanne Persico-Smith said. “She has the ability to take over a match at any time and we look for her to provide us that spark we need in the tough matches.”
The second set was a bit more trying for the girls on the hardwood. After opening strong by scoring the first four points, St. John’s allowed Fordham to take leads at 9-8 and again at 15-13. It was no matter for this resilient squad, however, as the ladies from Queens fought back twice to tie the score at 17-17 and again at 19-19 and would eventually take the lead for good after a kill from senior Casie Brooks.
The third set was a little less stressful for the Red Storm. They never trailed despite some peskiness from the team from the Bronx. St. John’s built up an early 8-4 lead forcing the Rams to take an early timeout. Strong play from Kun Song, including two crucial late-game kills, one sealing the deal for the Johnnies, helped propel St. John’s to an easy 25-17.
Valeria Kovaleva was the backbone for a strong St. John’s squad coming up just two assists shy of a triple-double. Kovaleva’s impressive line of 10 kills, 8 assists and 12 digs marks the second time in three days the senior has posted a double-double. Freshman Darlene Ramdin made a big contribution on the defensive end, recording six blocks for the Red Storm. “Darlene is getting more comfortable in our system here with every match,” Persico-Smith said. “She is a strong force at the net and has a lot of good energy when she is on the court.”
Senior libero Lena Yee continued her solid play for the Storm, recording eight digs to compliment the offense of players like Brooks, whose .500 hitting percentage was a match high.
Up next for women’s volleyball is the Ameritas Players Challenge, hosted by the University of Nebraska on Friday. The Red Storm will take on New Mexico in the first match at 4:30 p.m.