Julia Cast recorded 14 kills in the victory
Aug. 25, 2017
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QUEENS, N.Y. – Opening up its 2017 campaign with the Jack Kaiser Classic in Carnesecca Arena, the Red Storm swept Holy Cross, 3-0 (25-22, 27-25, 25-13) to move to 17-7 all-time in opening matches and a perfect 5-0 all-time against the Crusaders.
St. John’s was terrific on both sides of the ball as the squad hit at a .269 clip and out blocked Holy Cross eight to three. The veteran Julia Cast led the way for the Johnnies with a team-high 14 kills and hit at a stellar .324 hitting percentage. Hanna Wagner, a sophomore from Schwerin, Germany, played outstanding all-around as she recorded seven kills and hit at a career-high .500 clip. A Preseason All-BIG EAST Team selection, Erica Di Maulo distributed a match-high 36 assists and tacked on 10 digs for her eighth career double-double. The sophomore from Milan, Italy, also notched a match-high three aces as the Red Storm dominated the service line with eight aces.
The two freshmen from Texas Kayley Wood and Jordan McCalla got the start for the Red Storm and each recorded seven kills, while McCalla also showed her defensive skills as well with nine digs. After breaking the program record for most blocks in a season in 2016, Danisha Moss picked up three and added eight kills on a .316 hitting percentage. Starting at libero, Amanda Sanabia collected a team-high 17 digs.
In the opening frame, the Crusaders opened up an 8-5 lead forcing the Red Storm to call its first timeout of the set. After back-and-forth play between the two teams, St. John’s tied the match at 18 apiece, before the Red Storm finished off the set on a 7-4 run to take the opening frame. Cast led the Red Storm with six kills in the first set, while McCalla tallied six of nine digs in the set.
The closest set of the match was the second frame and it was another affair that featured the Crusaders off to a great start with a 15-12 lead. Katie Kerins recorded nine kills in the frame and expanded Holy Cross’ lead to 21-16, before the Red Storm turned it around for the second-straight set. McCalla, Wood and Moss led the charge to even the match at 25, but a Cast kill and then a block by Di Maulo and Wagner gave the Red Storm a 27-25 victory. The Toronto native Moss was stellar in the frame with six kills at a .667 hitting percentage.
Looking to win its seventh-straight season opener, the Johnnies completely dominated the final frame to the tune of a 25-13 victory. After jumping out to an 8-6 lead, the Red Storm went on a 10-2 run to take an 18-8 advantage. Yanjiao Zhao came off the bench at the end of the set and distributed the last four points, including a kill by Di Maulo to finish off the triumph over Holy Cross.
The Red Storm returns to action later today with a matchup against Sacramento State at 7 p.m. at Carnesecca Arena as part of the Jack Kaiser Classic.