The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Volleyball unsuccessful in Ameritas Players Challenge

It was an unsuccessful weekend for the St. John’s women’s volleyball team. They dropped both games of the Ameritas Players Challenge to the New Mexico Lobos and Louisiana State Tigers respectively.

In the first game the Red Storm, matched up against a red hot team in New Mexico which came into the match 7-0. St. John’s kept it close through out all three games but fell short all three times. They did not lose a set by more than two points, 23-25, 33-35 and 23-25.

Although the loss overshadowed stellar individual performances, there were some positives. Seniors Casie Brooks, Valeria Kovaleva and Wioleta Leszczynska each recorded double-doubles in the loss. Brooks recorded ten kills and 14 digs, Kovaleva registered 12 kills and 20 digs and Leszczysnka had 41 assists and 14 digs.

The third set was the closest. Neither team took more than a two-point lead and the game hung in the balance from start to finish. After a timeout was taken by St. John’s to stop New Mexico’s mini rally where they scored three straight kills, the Red Storm surged back to tie the set at 22. Two plays later the Lobo’s made a kill and a block to end the set and match.

Jeanne Fairchild paced the Lobos with a match-high 19 kills.

“We seemed to struggle when the game got close and we could not put a ball away,” said head coach Joanne Persico-Smith. “We had opportunities but are still looking for someone to step up and become he physical leader we need to get us to the end of the match.”

The consolation game in the Ameritas Players Challenge was more of the same as they took on the Tigers from Louisiana State. LSU topped St. John’s in four sets (25-18, 19-25, 16-25, 24-26) Valeria Kovaleva notched her second straight double-double, recording ten kills and ten digs. Senior Chen Chen equaled the match-high with 14 kills, while Lena Yee and Wioleta Leszczynska led everyone in the match in digs with 16 and with 46 assists.

The Red Storm got off to a good start on Saturday. They won the first set by taking an early 8-3 lead and never looked back. But following the 25-18 win in the first game, St. John’s fell apart and lost the next three sets by a combined margin of 17 points.

The second set was a disaster for the Red Storm as they couldn’t string anything together. The third set had LSU up 9-5 early and the Red Storm just could not get closer than a three-point defect. LSU put together a streak and went up by 7 and eventually winning the set 25-16. The fourth and final set was much closer. As the game was tied at 14, LSU took charge and eventually reaching match point. A St. John’s attack error gave LSU the win in the set and the game.

“I think that LSU really stepped up their game and started to block us very, very well,” said Persico-Smith. “Once teams know where you are going to set the ball it becomes a very easy game to win. We have to do a better job of keeping teams off balanced by making sure we have good ball control and getting our hitters one on one against the opposing team blockers.”

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