The St. John’s volleyball team played another very close match against Rutgers on Sunday, but once again, close just wasn’t good enough, as the Red Storm fell in five sets in front of a hostile Rutgers crowd, (25-23, 26-28, 26-24, 22-25, 10-15).
The loss drops the Red Storm to 9-19 overall, and 2-10 in the Big East, while Rutgers improves to 10-17 overall, and 3-9 in conference play.
Despite the disappointing loss, the young Red Storm have many things to build on, according to Head Coach Joanne Persico-Smith.
“The team gave a phenomenal effort in a very hostile environment,” Persico-Smith said. “It was their [Rutgers] Senior Day, and they packed the house, so we knew that a fifth set would not be in our favor.
“The ladies really pushed themselves to the limit, and one of the girls on our team played through tremendous pain.
“We don’t have a full squad this year, so we have no substitutes for some of the positions.”
Each of the first four sets were very close, as the first three were only decided by two points each.
St. John’s had a chance to close out the match with a victory in the fourth set, but trailed 22-15, before the Red Storm went on a 7-2 run to pull to within 24-22, but Rutgers would finally capitalize and would win the fourth set 25-22.
St. John’s had yet another golden opportunity in the fifth set, as they had an early 8-5 lead. But the Scarlet Knights would score three consecutive points to tie it, before closing out their Senior Day with a 15-10 fifth-set victory.
One bright spot for the Red Storm was the play of Junior Kun Song, who led the team with 22 kills and seven digs.
According to Persico-Smith, Song’s play has improved just as much as anyone else’s on the team.
“Kun Song did a fine job for us, along with [sophomore] Darlene Ramdin,” she said. “Their serve receive has improved with every game, and should be ready to pass in every rotation come next season.
This will give us some additional options that we did not have this year.”
Ramdin also added 14 kills, along with nine digs and four blocks. Freshman libero Ashley Asing had a match-high of 23 digs.
Despite the loss to Rutgers, the Red Storm still have two more conference games to play before their season ends, but neither game will be easy, according to Persico-Smith.
The Red Storm travel to Louisville on Nov. 13th, and will close out their season at Cincinnati on Nov. 15. The Red Storm are looking to end the season on a high note, although they won’t be in position to win a fourth-straight Conference championship.
“We know that Cincinatti and Louisville are top-ranked teams in the Big East,” Persico-Smith said. “Playing them on the road is a very very difficult task, but the team will be prepared and ready to compete.”