The St. John’s women’s volleyball team needed to stop the bleeding after a horrendous start to the 2009 campaign.
The answer was sophomore Darlene Ramdin.
Ramdin, who had missed the first three games of the season to represent Trinidad and Tobago in the World Championships in Mexico, came to save the day, as St. John’s pulled off a 3-1 (22-25, 25-15, 25-18, 25-22) victory over Stony Brook Tuesday night.
Ramdin tallied a game-high of 20 kills to lead the Red Storm to their first victory of the season. Freshman Gabriela Petkova also tallied 43 assists and seven digs to continue her outstanding beginning to her collegiate career.
This was a major win for the Red Storm, as they had come off a very rough weekend at the VCU Invitational, where the Storm dropped all three games to East Carolina, VCU and Temple.
“It was very disappointing to lose,” said head coach Joanne Persico. “We had freshmen, who really came along and had some very huge shoes to fill, and were working to get better [over the weekend].”Despite the help, Persico added that even more is on the way.
“We’re also still trying to get some players cleared by the NCAA, so we are still a bit shorthanded,” she said.
Against East Carolina, the Red Storm started by taking the first set 25-20, but lost the next three sets (21-25, 19-25, 13-25).
St. John’s made a nice bid for a comeback in the second set, coming back from a 20-12 defecit to trail by three, 21-18.
The Red Storm also led the third set 10-9, but four consecutive points gave East Carolina a 20-14 lead. St. John’s battled back to a four-point defecit of 22-18, but Melissa Zentner came up with the game-winning kill for East Carolina.
East Carolina as they got out to a fast start with a 13-3 lead in the final set, a lead Pirates would not relinquish.
Freshman Gabriela Petkova tallied 27 assists in her first game while another freshman, Ashley Asing, led the team with 11 digs.
Junior Kun Song finished with 12 kills, while sophomore Jordan Haskins, senior Ruisa Scheffel, and junior Diana Banya had six kills apiece.
Against VCU, the Red Storm would once again take the first set, but did not get it done again, as they fell to 0-2 with a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Rams, (25-19, 14-25, 19-25, 12-25).
Senior Ruisa Scheffel led the charge with five kills in the first set, as St. John’s held off a late VCU rally. In the second set, the Red Storm trailed 13-9, before VCU took 11 of the last 14 points.
In the third set, the Red Storm continued to keep VCU’s pace, trailing 18-17 before the Rams scored five consecutive points, and then exchanged points to finish the set.
St. John’s would once again get out to a fast start in the fourth, taking an early 7-3 lead before VCU rallied to tie the set at nine. VCU would only allow three points the rest of the set, dominating the Red Storm, 25-12.
Petkova once again led the team in assists with 28, while Asing finished with 17 digs and Banya led the charge with 15 kills.
In the final match of the tournament, St. John’s was swept by Temple 3-0 (25-18, 25-23, 26-24).
The first set was back and forth as neither team led by more than three, until Temple took a 22-18 advantage, and they took over from there.
In the second set, the Red Storm would trail 8-4 early, before they pulled within two at 14-12.
After the Owls expanded their lead to 17-12, St. John’s would rally and take the lead at 22-21, but Temple would take four of the next five points to win the set.
St. John’s jumped out to a 19-16 lead in the final set, but Temple would respond with three consecutive points to tie and then exchange points until the teams stood tied at 23.
A Banya kill would put St. John’s in position to take the set, but Temple would score three consecutive times to end the set and match.
“We battled, but we really need to be more stable,” Persico said. “We’re finding our new players, and we’re just trying to get better over time.”
Scheffel led the Red Storm with 10 digs and 15 kills, for a .250 hitting percentage.
Petkova continued her strong play, recording 36 assists and 12 digs. Junior Kun Song recorded 11 kills and 12 digs.