May 13, 2007
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam
Fact of the Day: Vietnam is
the second-largest coffee grower in the world. Small coffee joints
can be found on almost every corner of the major cities. Highland
Coffee is Vietnam’s equivalent of Starbucks. Located behind the
famous Ho Chi Minh City Opera House, it is a popular place to beat
the head and have a good, strong cup of coffee.
The St. John’s volleyball team lost a hard-fought 3-2 match to
Zetyssu, the national team of Kazakhstan in the second round of the
2007 Vietnam Television (VTV) Cup Women’s Volleyball Tournament.
The Red Storm is now tied 1-1 in round-robin action and sits in
second place just four-hundredths of a point away from first place
Thailand in Pool B.
Although it was a competition day, several of the Red Storm
volleyball team’s members began their Sunday attending mass at the
historic Notre Dame Cathedral. The rest of the team chose to sleep
in and eat breakfast at the hotel.
The morning service is the only mass at the Cathedral said in
English; however the songs were in Vietnamese. After mass, the
group went to breakfast at a Highland Coffee café. The
world-renowned Highland Coffee is the premier coffee bean in
Vietnam and comes from Vietnam’s central highlands. Some of the
ladies chose a traditional Vietnamese breakfast, while others
jumped at the opportunity for some scrambled eggs and bacon. After
breakfast, we went to the Diamond Department Store to do some
shopping and then rejoined the rest of the team back at the hotel.
Shortly after that, it was time to get in the bus and go to the
Once again, students from Hong Bang University came out to
support the Red Storm in its match against Zetyssu. The gym was
filled with spectators as the two teams took to the court.
Hui Ping Huang (Shanghai, China) scored the first point of the
match once again for the Red Storm, while Dana DeMayo (Ra’anana,
Israel) helped push the team to a 6-3 lead. However, Zetyssu
rallied back to tie the score, 11-11, on points from Olga
Serebrennikova. The two team battled point-for-point but Zetyssu
grabbed the advantage on a block from Tatyana Pyurova. St. John’s
tied the score two more times but it was not enough as Zetyssu went
on to win the first game, 25-23.
The Red Storm started off strong in the second game winning the
first two points on a kill from Patti Hardimon (Honolulu, Hawaii)
and a block from Huang. St. John’s then went on to take a six-point
lead on a kill from Hardimon and continued to push ahead behind
solid efforts at the net from Hardimon and Huang. However, Zetyssu
remained close and knotted the score, 19-19, on a kill from
Serebrennikova. A kill from Latoya Blunt (Victorville, Calif.) and
back-to-back Kazakhstan attacking errors gave St. John’s a
three-point lead, 23-20. The Red Storm won the second game, 25-23,
on a Kazakhstan ball handling error.
Tied 1-1, St. John’s stormed into the third game and won the
first three points. The Red Storm held the advantage through the
entire game on points from Hardimon and Valeria Kovaleva (Moscow,
Russia). Zetyssu tried to tie the score but the Red Storm rallied
behind strong service efforts from Alanna Rutan (San Diego) to
continue to lead the game. Blocks from Wioleta Leszczynska
(Bielsko-Biala, Poland) and Blunt helped widen the gap for St.
Johns, 15-7. Kazakhstan did not give up that easily and tied the
score 23-23 on a kill from Pyurova. However, a service ace from
Hardimon gave the Red Storm a 25-23 third game win.
Leading 2-1, the Red Storm once again came out strong and
grabbed an early lead on points from Kovaleva, Blunt and Huang.
However, Zetyssu capitalized on back-to-back Red Storm errors to
tie the game, 6-6. The two team then went head-to-head for a
majority of the game, tying the score 12 times. A strong
performance from the 2006 BIG EAST Libero of the Year Kathleen Yee
(Honolulu, Hawaii) helped the Red Storm stay alive throughout the
match. A service ace from Hardimon gave St. John’s a one-point
lead, 26-25, but Zetyssu quickly tied the game again and took the
lead with a block from Olessya Arslanova, 27-26. Kazakhstan won the
fourth game, 28-26.
In the deciding match, Zetyssu pushed to a 5-1 lead on points
from Serebrennikova and Mayra Salykbayeva. A kill from DeMayo
stopped Kazakhstan’s run but they quickly won control of the game
again and reached the eighth point first on a block from Pyurova,
8-4. After the teams switched sides, action resumed and
back-to-back kills brought the Red Storm within four, 10-6. The two
teams continued to fight through the fifth game with the Red Storm
halting Zetyssu twice at match point on kills from Blunt. However,
Kazakhstan won the game, 15-10, and the match, 3-2.
After the tough battle, the squad returned to the hotel to
shower and have a light snack. They then boarded a bus and drove to
Old Saigon to have dinner. The team dinner was hosted by sponors of
the Red Storm’s trip to Vietnam and friends of Dr. Hung Le,
assistant dean of St. John’s College graduate division and director
of the Vietnam initative.
After collecting their clean laundry, the team gathered to post
a special Mother’s Day edition of their daily postcard on
RedStormSports.com. To view the postcard, click here.
The Red Storm continues round robin action at the 2007 VTV Cup
on Monday against the VTV Club Team, Long An. First serve is
scheduled for 2 p.m.