May 16, 2007
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam
Fact of the Day: Metropolitan
Ho Chi Minh City is divided into 19 administrative districts that
are numbered one through 12. Most of the city’s hotels, shops and
restaurants are in District 1. This district is also home to Ben
Thanh Market, which the Red Storm will visit tomorrow morning. It
also includes the city’s most busy commercial area as well as the
backpacker district. Saigon’s sightseeing attractions are spread
among districts 1, 3 and 5. District 3 has also been the Red
Storm’s home for the past seven days.
The St. John’s volleyball team won its third straight match at
the 2007 Vietnam Television (VTV) Cup Fourth International Women’s
Volleyball Tournament Wednesday afternoon as the team defeated
Banmiwittaya, the national team of Thailand, 3-0.
With the win the Red Storm advanced to the semifinals, which
will be played on Friday, May 18. Pairings and match times will be
announced on Thursday, May 17.
The Red Storm’s fan base has continued to grow throughout the
tournament. Today, members of the Long An, the VTV club team,
cheering section brought out their drums and joined the students
from Hong Bang University and the St. John’s faculty members in
supporting the Red Storm.
St. John’s labored through the beginning of the first game as
Banmiwittaya took control with a service ace Khongwatmai
Nutthamonpun, 4-2. Thailand pushed to a four-point lead, 12-8, on a
kill from Konglom Malai. St. John’s rallied back to knot the score,
12-12, on a kill from Latoya Blunt (Vacaville, Calif.), but
Thailand grabbed the advantage once again on points from Sisuma
Sirintra, Gadmee Sunisa and Teesuka Tanaporn. The Red Storm was
able to advance on Banmiwittaya errors and a kill from Wioleta
Leszczynska (Bielsko-Biala, Poland) and then the teams battled
point-for-point until two kills from Patti Hardimon (Honolulu,
Hawaii) ended game one, 30-28.
“Getting through that first game was really tough,” said
Hardimon. “But winning that game helped us get focused enough to
dominate in the second game.”
In game two, the Red Storm pushed to a three-point lead, 5-2, on
kills from Hardimon. St. John’s continued to hold onto the
advantage with successful attacks from Valeria Kovaleva (Moscow,
Russia), Blunt and Leszczynska. Thailand tried to tie the score
with solid efforts from Sanuanram Rattanaporn and Malai, but it
could not catch the Red Storm as a block from Kovaleva and Hui Ping
Huang (Shanghai, China) brought the second game to a close,
Banmiwittaya was not ready to give up just yet as it opened the
third game with a 3-0 run on kills from Sirintra and an ace from
Malai. However, St. John’s fought back to tie the score, 8-8, on a
kill from Blunt and then tied the score again, 9-9, on a kill from
Dana DeMayo (Ra’anana, Israel). A Thailand attacking error gave St.
John’s a five-point lead, 15-10, but Banmiwittaya rallied back to
tie the score, 17-17. Once again, the two teams went
point-for-point until back-to-back kills from Blunt gave St. John’s
control of the game for the final time. Although Thailand fought to
knot the score again, a kill from Huang finished the game,
After the match, the Red Storm headed back to the hotel. The
players grabbed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich snack and had
two hours to shower and relax before dinner. The squad met with Dr.
Hung Le, assistant dean of St. John’s College graduate division and
director of the Vietnam initiative, at the Caravelle Hotel in Old
Saigon for dinner. The group was joined by members of the St.
John’s faculty that arrived in Ho Chi Minh City Tuesday
Upon returning to the New Epoch Hotel, sophomore Huang checked
in with RedStormSports.com before going to bed to post the team’s
seventh daily journal entry. To view her postcard, click here.
The Red Storm will hold a clinic and play an exhibition match at
Hong Bang University on Thursday, May 17. First serve is scheduled
for 3 p.m. local time, 4 a.m. in New York.