Oct. 11, 2017
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QUEENS, N.Y. – After recording a five set victory on the road at Xavier in its previous contest, the Red Storm volleyball team kept the momentum going with an easy 3-0 (25-16, 25-15, 25-15) triumph over BIG EAST foe Georgetown at Carnesecca Arena on Wednesday night as sophomore Erica Di Maulo reached the 2,000 assist plateau.
St. John’s (11-12, 3-5 BIG EAST) registered its second straight conference victory and cruised to its eighth straight win against the Hoyas (7-12, 1-6 BIG EAST) behind the tremendous defensive effort put up by the Johnnies. The Red Storm held the Hoyas’ attack to just a .022 hitting percentage for the lowest all season St. John’s has allowed. Ranked second in the BIG EAST in blocks per set, the Johnnies controlled the front of the net with 13.5 blocks, including eight from Danisha Moss. Moss, who places third in the conference in blocks, has now tallied three-straight seasons of 100 or more blocks and owns 416 career rejections.
The 2016 BIG EAST Co-Freshman of the Year Erica Di Maulo orchestrated an offense that hit at a solid .274 clip and distributed a game-high 29 assists. The sophomore already possesses 2,001 assists in two stellar years as a member of the Red Storm to become the seventh Johnny to dish out 2,000 or more helpers. The 6-foot setter ranks in the top 10 in the nation in total assists and also made an impact on the defensive end Wednesday night with four blocks.
Kayley Wood led the Red Storm offense with a game-high nine kills at a terrific .444 attacking percentage, while Julia Cast tallied eight and sits just three kills shy of becoming the 10th Red Storm volleyball player to reach the 1,000 kill mark. Hanna Wagner and Jordan McCalla both performed solid on the offensive end with 12 kills combined as Wagner notched a .417 hitting percentage with four blocks. In the back row, Amanda Sanabia led all players with 16 digs for the sophomore's fourth-straight match of 11 or more digs. The Annapolis, Md., native also recorded two of the Red Storm’s seven aces on the night and dished out four assists.
The opening set of the match began close with the score even at nine, until the Red Storm reeled off a four-point run on a pair of blocks. St. John’s commanded the rest of the first frame to take the stanza, 25-16, as the Hoyas never came closer than three after it was 13-9. The Johnnies’ defense was in full force in the frame as they held the Hoyas to a -.033 clip and registered five blocks with three coming from Moss. Wagner led the way on the other end with four kills on seven swings and Sanabia collected six digs.
The Red Storm jumped out to a 4-1 lead and then stretched it to 13-7 to force the Hoyas to call their first timeout of the second set. After the short break, St. John’s kept the momentum afloat, winning nine of the next 15 points to take a 22-13 advantage. The Hoyas won the next two points, before back-to-back blocks by Moss ended the second set with a 25-15 victory and gave the Johnnies a 2-0 lead. Six different Red Storm players tallied a kill and as a squad, they hit at a .348 clip in the second stanza.
Looking for its eighth win in-a-row over Georgetown, the Red Storm won the final set of the night in wire-to-wire fashion for the straight-set victory. St. John’s was up 15-10 and then closed the third frame on a 10-5 run for its second 25-15 set win of the night. Cast and Wood paced the offense with five kills apiece in the frame, while Di Maulo distributed 11 assists to make quick work of the Hoyas in front of the home crowd on Wednesday night.
The Red Storm will look to continue its winning ways with the start of a three-match road trip at Seton Hall this Saturday, Oct. 14, when the Johnnies head over to New Jersey for a 7 p.m. matchup at the Walsh Gym.