By Zach Gewelb
It wasn’t easy, but the St. John’s women’s volleyball team secured a 3-1 victory over visiting DePaul in the university’s annual Dig for the Cure Match.
The Red Storm (13-15, 5-8 Big East) split the first two sets of the match with the Blue Demons (8-17, 2-11 Big East) before securing the victory with wins in the final two sets.
“I am really proud of my group and I thought they had a really nice effort in the third set,” head coach Joanne Persico said. “Julia Cast was outstanding today with 20 kills and we had a balanced attack as Kayley Wood was terrific. We had a good team effort and of course our setter makes it all happen.”
The Johnnies fell behind 11-7 in the first set, but used a 15-4 run to take a lead and closed out the frame by taking three of the final four points to secure a 25-16 victory.
DePaul responded with a strong start to the second stanza, jumping out to a 12-8 lead. The Johnnies kept the score close, cutting the deficit to 17-15, but the Blue Demons maintained their lead to take the set 25-20.
The teams were even at 5-5 early in the third set until St. John’s went on an impressive 17-2 run, its largest of the season. The Red Storm continued their strong play throughout the set to clinch a 25-14 victory.
St. John’s clinched its fifth conference victory of the season — and sixth win of the year at Carnesecca Arena — with a 25-19 victory in the fourth and final set. The Johnnies improved 14-6 all-time against DePaul.
The offense led the way for St. John’s, led by Cast, who reached the 20-kill mark for the sixth time this season. Wood added 12 kills on a career-high .524 hitting percentage and recorded three blocks.
Defensively, St. John’s held DePaul to a .217 attacking percentage and recorded 11 blocks to prevent the Blue Demons from gaining momentum. Hanna Wagner led the way with five blocks and added eight kills. With the five blocks, she eclipsed the 100-block total on the season. Danisha Moss added four blocks.
Derica Di Maulo continued her strong season, tallying 47 assists, seven digs and four blocks. With her strong passing performance, Di Maulo has eclipsed the 1,00 assist mark for the second consecutive year.
St. John’s hits the road for the final time of the regular season when the Red Storm travels to Georgetown and Villanova this weekend.