Pirates move into tournament position with efficient four-set win
The Seton Hall volleyball team (16-13 overall, 10-6 Big East) took down the St. John’s Red Storm (15-16 overall, 7-9 Big East) for the second time this season to earn sole possession of fourth place in the Big East conference.
At this stage in the season, every game for the Hall takes on added significance, with only the top four teams advancing to the Big East Tournament. Coming into the match, Seton Hall was tied with Villanova for fourth at 9-6 in conference, but with the win inch in front of their rivals for the time being.
The Pirates had five players with at least 10 kills in the match with outside hitter Dominique Mason leading the way as the senior picked up a double-double with 15 kills and 13 digs. Setter Sophia Coffey also registered a double-double with 27 assists and 10 digs.
The theme of the match was efficiency for the Pirates, as Seton Hall had fewer kills, assists, blocks and digs than St. John’s, but still managed the victory, on the road, in four sets.
The Pirates point scoring percentage, as well as their hit percentage, was better, but what really gave them the upper hand was the amount of service and attack errors the Red Storm had, with those mistakes ultimately costing the home side the match.
The Pirates won a thrilling first set 28-26 after finally breaking away at the end of the set with three straight points. The Red Storm went up three points to start the set, but the Pirates came back with four of their own. The set was back and forth from then on, and would fittingly end in the same fashion as Seton Hall reached a 25-24 lead, but St. John’s responded with two straight of their own.
Down one and in need of an answer, Abby Thelen, one of five Pirates with over ten kills, got back-to-back kills to put the Pirates up one. Following Thelen’s kills, St. John’s leader in kills, Julia Cast, recorded a service error which gave the second set to the Pirates.
Seton Hall had the advantage throughout most of the second set but let things get away from them at the very end. A kill from St. John’s Kaley Wood put the Red Storm up 23-22, and some untimely errors from Pirates setter Maggie Cvelbar gave the Red Storm a 25-22 win.
The third set was no different than the rest of the game as the two sides traded runs and kept it close. Midway through, the Pirates went on a 5-0 run and had a lead until the Red Storm countered with a 4-0 run. Kills from Caitlin Koska and Haylee Gasser, two more of the Pirates with at least 10 kills on the match, coupled with another service error from Cast and a set-clinching kill from Thelen gave the Pirates their second set victory.
The fourth set was more of the same as the score never got out of hand. The Pirates did create separation midway through with two separate 4-0 runs, and those runs would be enough as they won the set 25-21. Gasser had the final kill of the match which gave Seton Hall the win.
The game marked the Pirates’ final road game of the regular season, as they now will return home to face the third place Butler Bulldogs (21-6 overall, 11-4 Big East) on Nov. 17 and will follow that up with their final match of the regular season against the Xavier Musketeers (10-19 overall, 5-10 Big East) on Nov. 18.
Jose Feliciano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFeliciano1101.