Johnnies ready themselves for stretch of Big East competition

The St. John’s women’s volleyball team, who were coming off a strong performance this past weekend at the Courtyard LaGuardia Volleyball Classic, came out even stronger with a 3-0 sweep of the Stony Brook Seawolves Tuesday night.

Behind a team effort, the Red Storm advanced their record to 9-6 on the year in their final match outside of the Big East and will take on Cincinnati and Louisville at home this coming week.

“We are going to face two of the best teams in the division,” Red Storm head coach Joanne Persico-Smith said. “We need everybody to lead. We need everybody to stay mentally tough.”

Valeria Kovaleva, who led the team with 3.18 kills per set and was second with 3.90 digs per set coming into this game, recorded another eight kills and ten digs on the evening.

“We were pretty confident tonight, no nervousness,” said Kovaleva. “We were in our rhythm.”

The Red Storm definitely were in a rhythm as they got off to a quick start against the Seawolves, going up 8-1 early in the first set.

The Seawolves, down seven, were forced to take a timeout. However, the timeout proved to have no effect on the early momentum the Red Storm developed as they continued to bare down on their opponents, taking a 17-6 lead.

Facing anine point deficit this time, the Seawolves were compelled to take their second and final timeout of
the set.

Coming out of the timeout, the Seawolves went on a 6-2 run, and it began to appear that some life was breathed into their team. However, the Red Storm wasted no more time and went on to win the first set 25-13.

The beginning of the second set had a different feel to it, as the Seawolves played the Red Storm more aggressively. Never going up by more than three points, the Red storm began pulling away at 13-8, forcing the Seawolves to take a timeout to again try and kill the momentum.

The Seawolves pulled within two points at 14-12, forcing the Red Storm to take a timeout to regroup. The game was never put out of reach after that by the Red Storm as they never developed a lead greater than four points until late in the second set, finally putting it away at 25-18.

The Red Storm came out even stronger in their third set, when fatigue would be thought to have set in. Taking a 9-4 lead early on, the Seawolves took a timeout.

However, Persico-Smith didn’t like what she saw from her team coming out of the timeout and was forced to take one of her own.

“There is no such thing as a breather timeout,” Persico-Smith said. “It was more like, ‘What are you doing out there?'”

Perhaps it lit a fire underneath her players as they began to quickly put the set out of reach, taking a 14-7 lead. The Red Storm then pulled away with an 11-7 run, winning the third and final set 25-14.

“After this past weekend and tonight, we are pretty confident going into the Big East games,” said Kovaleva. “But we still have things to work on and improve.”