Nov. 16, 2007
MILWAUKEE, WIS. - The No. 20 St. John's volleyball team defeated the UConn Huskies, 3-0, Friday to advance to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament. The scores of the match were 30-27, 30-16, and 30-15. With the win, the Red Storm improved to 29-3 overall (13-1 BIG EAST) while the Huskies fell to 18-11 (8-6 BIG EAST).
The Red Storm was led by senior Hui Ping Huang, who had a match-high 14 kills, while fellow classmate LaToya Blunt chipped in with 12 kills and a match-high .526 hitting percentage. Junior Lena Yee led all players with 19 digs, and senior Wioleta Leszczynska directed the St. John's offense with a match-high 43 assists. Senior Dana DeMayo and juniors Valeria Kovaleva and Casie Brooks each contributed to the Red Storm offense with 8, 7, and 6 kills respectively.
The two teams swapped leads early in game one, then St. John's went ahead by two at 6-4. The Huskies stayed in it, however, and tied the score twice before taking the lead at 13-12. After a UConn service ace on the next play, the Red Storm used its first timeout. The Huskies extended their lead to 21-16, but DeMayo slammed down two kills then had a big block to bring St. John's to within three. Down 24-21, two kills by Blunt and one by Kovaleva tied the game at 24-24. The Red Storm took the lead at 26-25 on a UConn lift violation. After Blunt smashed another kill to make it 28-27, the Huskies burnt their final timeout. After the breather, an ace by Leszczynska gave St. John's game point and on the next play, Huang ended the game, 30-27, with a kill in the middle. Huang and Blunt recorded a game-high six kills apiece.
St. John's found its groove in game two, jumping out to a 5-1 lead early, forcing UConn to use its first time out. The Red Storm then exploded to a 12-3 lead. The Huskies fought to within six points at 15-9, but would not get any closer. St. John's great defensive efforts kept the Huskies to a -.105 hitting percentage. An ace by Leszczynska ended game two, 30-16, and the Red Storm went into the locker room up 2-0 in the match.
Game three was back and forth through 7-7 when the Red Storm grabbed six of the next seven points and forced UConn to burn their first timeout at 13-8. St. John's extended its lead to 17-10, and the Huskies took the next three points to make it 17-13, and the Red Storm used its first timeout. After the quick break, St. John's already had a commanding 23-15 lead before scoring the final seven points of the game in a row. A kill by sophomore Alanna Rutan ended the game, 30-15, giving the Red Storm the match 3-0.
For the Huskies, senior Sade Chambers had a team-high 10 kills, while sophomore Bridget Denson-Dorman had 29 assists. Sophomore Jessica Isaac led UConn with 16 digs, and five players had the team-high two blocks apiece.
The Red Storm returns to action tomorrow, at 4:30 p.m. ET, in the semifinal round of the BIG EAST Tournament where the team is slated to face USF, just six days after defeating the Bulls, 3-1 in Tampa.