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

Storm stay atop Big East standings

Oct. 11, 2008

The Red Storm women’s volleyball team continued to prove they are still the class of the Big East conference last night by sweeping Rutgers (25-20, 25-11, 25-13) in dominating fashion for their fourth conference win of the season.

With the win, the Red Storm moved to 4-1 in Big East play – with a 13-7 overall record – and maintained their position atop the conference standings, while keeping Rutgers winless in the conference.

“We need to maintain our high standard of play,” head coach Joanne Persico-Smith said. “I tell my players that [the season] is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Senior hitter Casie Brooks recorded a match-high 11 kills on the evening.
Wioleta Leszczynska, who was ranked eighth in the nation among setters coming into the match with 11.47 assists per set, managed to record 48 of her team’s 49 total assists.

“Volleyball is a team sport,” Leszczynska said. “I just try to help my teammates be in the best position for the kill.”
The first set was the closest call for the Red Storm, who never led by more than five points. Tension between the conference rivals became apparent in the middle of the set, with the tempers of both benches flaring after a debatable call by the referee.

The Scarlet Knights argued that the referee had blown the whistle too early on a ball that was hit up into the rafters of Taffner Field House, claiming that it should have still been in play. After the referees came together, it was decided to take away the point originally awarded to the Red Storm, keeping the set at 15-14.

The Red Storm were unfazed by the reversed call, however, and never allowed Rutgers to pull back within less than four points. They took the first set by a score of 25-20, thanks to a set-high seven kills from Chen Chen and four attack errors committed by Rutgers.

“We needed to get the points back,” Leszczynksa said. “We pushed forward and played much better.”

The Red Storm came out strong to start the second set, taking a quick 8-2 lead. After an early Rutgers timeout, the Red Storm managed to maintain the pace, keeping Rutgers at bay for the rest of the set. The Red Storm took the second set convincingly by a final score of 25-11.

Brooks tacked on a set-high six kills, while Leszczynksa recorded 14 more assists.

Another eight errors were committed by Rutgers on the attack in the second set.

The Red Storm took a commanding 14-4 lead to open up the third set, leaving Rutgers without a chance to stage any sort of comeback. The final score of the third set was a misleading 25-13, as Persico-Smith began substituting for most of her starters.

“We were trying to get others involved in the offense,” she said. “We can’t have the focus on one player when we are playing good teams.”

Darlene Ramdin, who was controlled well by Rutgers earlier in the night, recorded a set-high five kills while Leszczynska tacked on another 16 assists.

The Red Storm’s next match is against the Connecticut (12-6, 2-2) at home on Oct. 18 at 2 p.m.

“This is a very good Connecticut team,” Persico-Smith said. “We’re going to focus and keep getting better.”

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