SJU picks up big win against Nova

St. John’s (13-8) team knocked off rival Villanova (10-8) in four sets (25-19, 23-25, 31-29, 25-22) in front of a rowdy Saturday night crowd at Carnesecca Arena. The Red Storm improved their overall record to 13-8 and they snapped a three game skid in Big East play.

The four tight sets were too close for comfort (25-19, 23-25, 31-29, 25-22) in front of a rowdy crowd Saturday night at Carnesecca Arena.

“This win was very important to our team,” head coach Joanne Persico said. “We were able to rebound from three difficult losses.”

After 14 ties and four lead changes, the Johnnies were able to pull out a third set victory thanks to a clutch kill from junior Aleksandra Wachowicz. The 2-hour, 6-minute match ended in dramatic fashion when Deniz Mutlugil put
together the clinching kill to give St. John’s the victory.

Villanova  (10-8, 2-3) seemed to have the height advantage early on, but St. John’s was able to jump to a quick lead behind an impressive first set performance from sophomore Karin Palgutova, who had seven kills during the set. The Wildcats responded with a come-from-behind win in the second set,

Despite the victory, Persico said her team has more to improve on as the postseason draws closer.

“We need to keep a balanced attack,” Persico said. “Our ball control needs to improve and consistency is important to our success.”

Wachowicz collected a team-high 27 kills on a .532 percentage while Palgutova was a close second with 26 kills. Junior Ashley Boursiquot led St. John’s in blocks and Deniz Mutlugil had a
match-high 55 assists.

The Red Storm will finish its home-and-home series against Georgetown and Villanova on the road this weekend. The Johnnies will face the Wildcats on Friday and the Hoyas on Saturday.

“What I love about our team is that we fight,” Persico said. “We stay high even though things are down.”