Seton Hall’s two seniors came up big on Senior Night in Walsh Gym to keep the team’s Big East Tournament hopes alive.
Tessa Fournier and Danielle Schroeder led the way as the Pirates (16-10, 10-8) swept St. John’s (16-15, 7-11) in three straight sets (25-17, 25-22, 25-23). Fournier was dominant defensively as she has been throughout her four years at Seton Hall, coming up with 22 digs in the win. Schroeder contributed six digs and three aces, along with some gritty play along the way.
The Pirates jumped out to a quick 8-2 start in the first set and rode that early momentum to a convincing 25-17 first set victory. At one point in the first set, the Pirates led St. John’s 23-12, which was their largest lead of the night in any set.
“We’re very successful this year when we take the first set,” head coach Allison Yaeger said. “It’s always a momentum builder. Volleyball is all about momentum and once you get that going in the first set, it’s hard to lose it.”
Despite the early momentum, the Pirates came out somewhat flat in the second set. St. John’s got off to a 4-2 start and expanded their lead all the way to 14-8 before the Pirates came to life. Seton Hall would eventually tie it up at 18 and would not look back, grabbing their first lead of the set at 23-22 and winning the set 25-22.
In the third set, the Pirates would get off to a quick 2-0 start, but St. John’s fought back and overtook Seton Hall for a 5-3 lead. The Pirates would eventually come back to tie it up at five, setting the tone for what would be a back and forth third set. The two teams found themselves tied at 15, but Seton Hall pulled away and took the set 25-23, clinching the match.
With the win, the Pirates have done their part. Now, they will have to hope for a Villanova loss to Creighton tomorrow in order to clinch a spot in the Big East Tournament.
If Saturday’s match was the last one of the season for the Hall, Yaeger is proud of her team’s performance this season.
“Halfway through the season if you told me we’d be standing in the position that we are, I don’t know if I would have agreed with you,” Yaeger said. “I’m so proud of the girls for coming together in the second half of the season and getting the job done.”
Tyler Calvaruso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @tyler_calvaruso.