Sept. 29, 2017
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QUEENS, N.Y. – Playing its first match at Carnesecca Arena in 10 days, the St. John’s volleyball team cruised to a 3-0 (25-21-25-19-25-16) victory against the previously undefeated in conference play, Providence Friars to pick up its first BIG EAST win of the season on Friday night.
The Red Storm (9-9, 1-2 BIG EAST) made quick work of the Friars (13-5, 2-1 BIG EAST) as the squad dominated in all facets of the game with a .333 hitting percentage, its third-highest of the season, and out blocked Providence 11.5 to four. The Johnnies also tallied six service aces, its most in the past 12 matches and collected 40 digs to the Friars’ 35. St. John’s also held the attackers of Providence to a .173 hitting percentage, including just a .026 clip in the second frame.
“It was a great team win tonight against a BIG EAST team that was undefeated in conference play coming into the match,” said Head Coach Joanne Persico.
Currently ranked second in the conference in kills per set and top 25 in the nation in total kills, Julia Cast picked up a match-high 16 kills in only three sets on an outstanding .406 attacking percentage. The senior from New York also made an impact on the defensive end with a season-high four blocks. Danisha Moss played an extremely efficient all night with seven kills on 11 swings for a match-high .545 hitting percentage. The Toronto product notched three blocks to put her in a tie for third all-time with LaToya Blunt in Red Storm history with 397 blocks.
Joining the veterans Cast and Moss in the middle, Kayley Wood tallied 10 kills at a .318 clip and tied a career-high in blocks with five. Hanna Wagner made it difficult for the Providence attack all game with a match-high seven blocks in the sweep. Sophomore setter Erica Di Maulo distributed 34 assists and continues to show off her defensive game with eight digs, while adding two service aces.
On the back line, Delaney D’Amore led the Johnnies with 11 digs as the senior now has over 900 in her career and Amanda Sanabia collected seven. Lexie Lobdell added five digs and also tacked on two aces in the straight-set victory over Providence.
St. John’s got off to a quick start as four different players recorded a kill to give the Red Storm an early 12-6 lead in the opening frame, which forced the Friars to call a timeout. The Friars cut the lead to 13-12, but the Johnnies reeled off a 6-2 run to regain a five point advantage. After Providence fell behind just one point at 19-18, St. John’s finished the set on a 6-3 run to take the 1-0 lead in the match after an ace by Di Maulo closed out the stanza. Cast registered six kills and Moss connected on three kills in the first set, while Di Maulo dished out 12 assists.
A tightly contested second set right off the bat with each team exchanging points to even the score at 10, the Red Storm opened up another huge run to win eight of the next 10 points. From there, the Johnnies cruised the rest of the frame to win the set 25-19 as the Red Storm held the Friars to a .026 hitting percentage. Ranked inside the top 35 in the nation in blocks per set, the Red Storm showed why in the second with 5.5 blocks in the second stanza alone. Wagner dominated the frame with five blocks, including picking up back-to-back rejections at 23-19 to give the Johnnies the set victory.
After falling behind early, the Red Storm tied the third set at seven following a kill by Moss. The Red Storm then erupted for a 12-3 run on a five-point scoring run on the serve of Lobdell, which involved three kills, a block and an ace. St. John’s closed out the final set of the night with a 25-16 triumph to pick up its first BIG EAST win of the season and fourth home victory.
The win over Providence improved the Johnnies’ all-time record against the Friars to 15-5, including winners of 11 of its last 12 when squaring off with the longtime BIG EAST foe.
The Red Storm will host the three-time defending BIG EAST regular-season and tournament champions No. 14 Creighton tomorrow night at Carnesecca Arena with first serve set for 5 p.m.