May 14, 2007
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam
Quote of the Day: “The team
from the United States, St. John’s University volleyball, has done
a great job so far in the tournament. They are quick on the court.
They are among the top three teams in the tournament along with
Thailand and Japan.” – VTV Cup commentators.
The St. John’s volleyball team rebounded from yesterday’s hard
fought loss against Kazakhstan to sweep the Vietnam Television
(VTV) club team, Long An, 3-0, in the third round of the 2007 VTV
Cup Women’s Volleyball Tournament. The Red Storm improved to 2-1 in
round-robin action in Pool B.
The Red Storm began its day like a typical game day with
breakfast at the hotel. Afterwards, a group of players and
administrators planned to walk to a nearby supermarket to purchase
some snacks for the team, but the Vietnam rainy season was in full
effect, which forced the group to pile into a taxi. Shortly after
the group return, the team met in the lobby of the hotel to head
over to the competition facility.
Today, St. John’s cheering entourage from Hong Bang University
was ready to compete with the faithful Long An fans. The Long An
fans are known for bringing a drum to the gym and playing
throughout the opponent’s service and attack. The Hong Bang
students caught on quickly and brought their own drum to play while
Long An was serving and attacking. Their support was once again
crucial to the Red Storm’s victory.
The Red Storm rallied behind strong service efforts from Casie
Brooks (Victorville, Calif.) to open the first game with an 8-2
lead. St. John’s continued to hold the advantage with points from
Valeria Kovaleva (Moscow, Russia) and Hui Ping Huang (Shanghai,
China). Long An tried to tie the score but was only able to come
within three, 19-16, on a block from Vo Thi Kim Dinh. However, the
Red Storm responded with a 6-1 run to win the game, 25-17, on a
kill from Kovaleva.
The two teams battled point-for-point in the beginning of the
second game. The Red Storm was able to take a one point lead on a
kill from Dana DeMayo but VTV answered back to tie the score, 6-6.
A kill from Wioleta Leszczynska (Bielsko-Biala, Poland) pushed the
Red Storm ahead and the team continued to widen the gap on
successful attacks from Huang, Brooks and DeMayo. Huang pushed the
Red Storm to a nine-point lead, 18-9, with an ace and then she
brought the game to a finish with a kill, 25-17.
A block from Brooks put the first point on the board in the
second game, and Kovaleva responded quickly with a kill to take a
2-0 lead. The Red Storm held the advantage throughout the entire
game, going on a 4-1 run on four kills from Blunt to make the
score, 19-12. Long An was not going to give up that easily and was
able to put 20 points on the board with strong efforts from Tran
Thi My Linh and Luong Thi Thu Phuong. Yet, that was as far as they
could get as Huang slammed the ball down to close out the game,
After their second international victory, the Red Storm returned
to the hotel to shower and each a postgame meal. The squad then
boarded a bus to the Saigon Opera House where they joined Dr. Hung
Le, assistant dean of St. John’s College graduate division and
director of the Vietnam initiative, and his staff for some shopping
After the relaxing foot and back massages at Royal Foot Massage,
the group went for dinner at Quan Ngon (A Good Restaurant or A
Tasty Restaurant depending on who is translating). The Red Storm
ate several Vietnamese specialty dishes, smoothies and desserts.
With their stomach’s full and their muscles relaxed, the team
stopped at Saigon Star Hotel for a St. John’s volleyball ritual –
Newly hired assistant coach Li Chen made his Red Storm karaoke
debut with his top-notch rendition of Can’t Help Falling In Love by
Elvis Presley, while Leszczynska and Dr. Le scored a perfect 100
with their performance of Say You, Say Me by Lionel Ritchie. Head
coach Joanne Persico-Smith changed the lyrics of Billy Joel’s New
York State of Mind to say “a Vietnam state of mind” and associate
vice president of athletics Kathy Meehan closed out the night with
Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations.
Tomorrow, the Red Storm will be joined by 30 St. John’s psychology
students who will arrive in Ho Chi Minh City early in the day. The
Red Storm continues round robin action at the 2007 VTV Cup on
Tuesday against Sri Lanka. First serve is scheduled for 4 p.m.
local time, 5 a.m. EST.
Before heading to bead, sophomore Brooks checked in with
RedStormSports.com to post the team’s fifth daily journal entry. To
view her postcard, click