Taking it all in stride

After a 1-3 start to the season, the St. John’s women’s volleyball team needed a strong weekend showing to have a season on-par with the teams of old. Going 2-1 in the St. John’s Classic was certainly not a bad way to move forward.

St. John’s lost to the eventual
champion, Boston College, in the
upcoming round of the
inagural Classic, but bounced back to beat Fordham and Quinnipiac
on Saturday.

“From last weekend, we’ve made some great strides,” head coach Joanne Persico-Smith said. “It was the most
improvement of any team that
I’ve ever had.”

On Saturday afternoon, St. John’s beat Fordham (25-20, 27-25, 24-26, 33-31).
St. John’s led throughout the entire first set, opening up a 19-14 lead. Fordham would rally back to close the gap to 22-19, but the Red Storm would score three of the next four points to take the
first set.

In the second set, St. John’s led by as many as five at 20-15. Fordham would not go away quietly, scoring five points to bring the score to 21-20, but outside hitter Darlene Ramdin’s two consecutive kills put the Storm up 23-20.

Fordham would then score four in a row to take a 24-23 lead, before a kill by Ramdin tied it up. With the score tied at 25-25, junior middle blocker Diana
Banya would come up with a key block to put St. John’s at match point, before junior middle blocker Kun Song came up with the set-winning kill.

In the third set, with the score tied at 17, Banya came up with a kill to put the Red Storm in the lead, but Fordham would come back to knot up the score at 21. St. John’s would go up 24-21, but Fordham scored five consecutive points to keep the match alive.

In the fourth set, freshman setter Gabriela Petkova set up Ramdin for the
go-ahead kill with the score tied at 31 and St. John’s finished off the set
and the match.

“I didn’t want to play a fifth set, especially because we should have beaten them in three,” Ramdin said.

St. John’s defeated Quinnipiac in straight sets, (25-22, 25-16, 25-20). Early in the first set, Quinnipiac was in
control, taking a 17-13 lead before St. John’s would come back to tie it at 17.
The two squads would exchange points until an ace by Kun Song and a kill by Ramdin put St. John’s up 21-19, a lead which the Red Storm would not give up.

Quinnipiac would keep the Red Storm close early in the second set, but a 14-13 St. John’s lead was the closest
Quinnipiac would get as St. John’s scored six
consecutive points to take control of
the set.

St. John’s scored the first six points of the third set, but Quinnipiac would make a push to come within three points at
13-10, but St. John’s would go on a 7-3 run to go up 20-14. St. John’s would then have match point for five points until a service error by the Bobcats finally gave the Red Storm the three-set victory.

Ramdin and Song led the way for the Red Storm with 11 kills apiece, while Petkova had a match-high of 35 assists, and also tallied 8 digs. Ashley Asing and Kayla Motoyama each tied for a team high with 9 digs.

Although the Red Storm had a
successful weekend at the classic, they did have a setback in their first game on Friday night. St. John’s fell to Boston
College in four sets in the home opener for the Red Storm, (20-25, 25-17, 25-23,
28-26). In the first set, St. John’s got out to a very.

After St. John’s took the first set
25-20, Boston College responded by
leading the entire second set and holding off a late St. John’s rally to take the second
set 25-17.

In the third set, St. John’s trailed
24-21, when they scored twice, ending with a kill from Ramdin.

But Boston College ended the St. John’s threat with a kill by Jordan
Meredith, to take a very competitive
third set, 25-23.

St. John’s had a 24-22 lead in the fourth set, but Boston College rallied to tie the score at 24, and the two teams
exchanged points. Two consecutive kills by the Eagles’ Taylor Williams ended any hope of the Red Storm forcing a fifth set.

“It was a very disappointing loss, because they were a beatable opponent” Ramdin said.

Ramdin led the Red Storm with a
career-high of 29 kills, while Petkova
had 45 assists. Freshman Ashley Asing had a career-high of 17 digs, while Song had 14 digs. Banya had five blocks.

“We’re still learning who our go-to players are, and even our go-to players are still learning. It’s great to see improvement, but the competition gets tougher” said Persico-Smith.

The Torch went to print before
Tuesday’s match against Siena
was decided.