Sept. 13, 2008
LINCOLN, Neb. - The St. John's volleyball team was defeated by LSU Saturday afternoon in four sets (25-18, 19-25, 16-25, 24-26) in the consolation match of the Ameritas Players Challenge, hosted by the University of Nebraska, held at the NU Coliseum. With the loss, the Red Storm falls to an even 5-5 on the season, while the Tigers improve to 5-2.
Senior Chen Chen equaled the match-high with 14 kills, while classmate Valeria Kovaleva notched a double-double with 10 kills and 10 digs. Seniors Lena Yee and Wioleta Leszczynska led all players in the match in digs and assists, respectively, as Yee registered 16 digs and Leszczysnka put up 46 helpers. Sophomore Kun Song rounded out the Red Storm players with double-digit kills with 11, as senior Casie Brooks just missed a double-double with nine kills and 12 digs.
The Red Storm quickly built up an 8-3 lead to start the first set, but LSU went on a 6-1 run to tie the score at 9-9. When STJ took a 16-13 lead on a pair of unforced Tigers errors, Louisiana State called its first timeout. After the break, St. John's took four of the next five points to extend its lead to 20-14. The Tigers answered right back by grabbing the next three points to come within 20-17 and the Red Storm used its first timeout to break the momentum. That worked as STJ ended the set on a 5-1 run and a LSU attack error gave St. John's a 25-18 win.
There was no answer to the LSU blocking in the second set as the Tigers put on the roof nine times, holding the Red Storm to a .000 hitting percentage in the frame. St. John's took its only lead of the set when it strung together three straight points to go ahead 6-5, but an LSU block and kill quickly gave the Tigers the lead again, 7-6. STJ would tie the score at 7-7, and then again at 14-14, but three consecutive points by LSU on a kill and two blocks put LSU in front for good, 17-14. Louisiana State held on for a 25-19 win and the two teams went into the locker rooms tied one set apiece.
The third set was close in the beginning until LSU pulled ahead, 6-3, by grabbing three straight points. The Red Storm would use its first timeout after a Tigers service ace gave LSU a 9-5 lead. STJ wasn't able to come any closer than three points when a kill by Chen made the score 12-9, as the Tigers remained ahead throughout. LSU built up a seven point lead at 20-13 with a block and continued on for a 25-16 set win, taking a 2-1 lead in the match.
Each play was back-and-forth trough 6-6 to start the fourth set, then a Tigers kill and two STJ attack errors gave LSU a 9-6 lead. The Red Storm would fight back to tie the score at 14-14 and the score remained close after. A kill gave LSU a 20-18 lead and forced STJ to use its first timeout. After the breather, St. John's picked up three straight points to take a 21-20 lead as kills by Brooks and sophomore Diana Banya sandwiched a Tigers attack error. LSU then used its first timeout and quickly came out of the break to take a 23-21 lead on three consecutive points. The Tigers reached match-point, 24-22, on a Red Storm attack error. STJ forced extended play by picking up two points on a LSU attack error and a kill by Song, however a Tigers kill and a St. John's attack error ended the set in LSU's favor, 26-24, and the Bayou Bangles won the match 3-1.
For the Tigers, senior Kyna Washington tied the match-high with 14 kills and she led all players with nine total blocks. Junior Samantha Dabbs nearly recorded a triple-double with nine kills, 42 assists and eight digs. Senior Elena Martinez led the team with 15 digs, while juniors Lauren DeGirolamo and Britnee Cooper recorded 11 and 10 kills, respectively. Cooper also had seven total blocks.
The Red Storm returns to action on Tuesday, Sept. 16, for its first home contest of the season against the Hofstra Pride in the seventh annual Queens/Nassau Cup match. First serve is set for 7 p.m. at St. John's Taffner Field House.