The St. John’s volleyball team lost its fifth consecutive match on the road Sunday to Villanova, (9-25, 25-14, 25-22, 19-25, 15-10), after a dominant performance in the first set.
The Red Storm (8-14, 1-5 Big East) scored 16 consecutive points in that first set but never led in the second set, as Villanova (16-6, 5-3 Big East) seemingly took the momentum away from St. John’s, something the Wildcats do characteristically, according to head coach Joanne Persico-Smith.
“On the road, you have to win the first game. We knew that yesterday Villanova did the same thing and lost the first set (and won the match), so we wanted to be up 2-0,” Persico-Smith said.
After a tough third-set loss where there were 14 tie scores and seven lead changes, the Red Storm bounced back to take the fourth set, but could not get it done in the fifth.
“We made a lot of unforced errors, so we have to take care of the ball a little better” said Persico-Smith.
The loss marks the Red Storm’s fifth loss in a row, as they are in a tailspin toward the bottom of the Big East, after winning it three years in a row. But although the Red Storm has struggled so far this season, there are still some positives to build on, according to Persico-Smith.
“People just see the statistics,” Persico-Smith said. “We know that we were caught in an unfortunate situation this year with recruits and inexperience, but we’re not far away. I know nobody wants to hear it, but we did good things today.”
“We could’ve won, we’re all disappointed. We have to stay strong, because there’s still a lot of games ahead. We’ve got to stay together, and fight together,” said sophomore Darlene Ramdin, who led the Red Storm with 20 kills. “We were happy to bring it to a fifth set after losing (the second and third), but we wanted to win.”
Another bright spot in the game, according to Persico-Smith, was the play of freshman libero Ashley Asing, who had a game-high 21 digs.
“Ashley has been working really hard, and today she went up against the No. 2 digging team in the Big East,” Persico-Smith said. “Once we get our front-row blocking established, it will be much easier.”
Asing was not the only player who contributed in digs, as Kun Song had 15 digs, and freshman Gabriela Petkova had 13 digs. Petkova also tallied 38 assists. Junior Diana Banya also contributed with double-figure kills for the Red Storm.The Red Storm return home on Saturday to face Connecticut at Carnesecca Arena.