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VOL 97 : 11 Dec. 04, 2019 torchonline.com

The award-winning independent student newspaper of St. John’s University

hiring pause 'Effective immediately' University PLANS budget cuts PAGE 3

TORCH photo/nick bello TORCH Design/SPENCER CLINTON

INSIDE THE ISSUE

PAST EDITORS RECALL A DECADE OF BREAKING SJU NEWS pages 6 & 7


News

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Jingle Jam Kicks Off Winter Carnival

TORCH PHOTOS/FRANCESCA FAZIO

Francesca Fazio To start off the Christmas season and the Winter Carnival, Student Programing Board (SPB) worked with the Jazz Band to put together a Jingle Jam full of holiday spirit on Dec. 2. Starting at the top of common hour with snow adding to the festive air, people streamed into the event. The SPB welcomed students to D’Angelo Center’s (DAC) coffee house with candy-filled goodie bags. After grabbing some candy, students walked into a room filled with sweets from cookies to hot chocolate to the fan-favorite chocolate fountain with dipping options of strawberries, pretzels and marshmallows to name a few. Beyond the food area were several card-making stations. Alpha Phi Omega and Phi Iota Alpha ran stations for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Macy’s donated two dollars for every card made to the Make A Wish Foundation respectively. There was also a table to make cards for veterans and even write a letter to Santa. Another feature and collaborator of the event was Stressbusters. They were there to help students unwind before the inevitable stress of finals that begin next week. This is part of what Chidera Onyeka, a freshman biology major, experienced when she happened to see the people walking up to DAC’s third floor. Drawn in by the food, she got hot chocolate, wrote a letter to Santa and “loved the Grinch walking around” that just added an extra fun element to the party. The Grinch was a part of the holiday initiative tables. The star and reason for the event, Jazz Band, performed holiday classics. The songs even got a few people singing. One of the beloved classics, “You’re A Mean One Mr.Grinch,” even got the costumed Grinch dancing. According to Alicia Villafana, president of SPB, the SPB decided “to go big”. The SPB “really wanted to get people in the holiday spirit, wind down a little bit before the craziness of finals kick in” and “build-up to the grand finale on Friday.” Her Favorite part of the program, before Jazz Band played, was the chocolate fountain because, “who doesn’t love a chocolate fountain”. For more information and to keep up to date on school events check out @sjuspb and @sjuactivites on Instagram.

SGI Forum: Where Issues Find a Resolution Sophie Williams SGI held a student forum on Nov. 20 in DAC. The student forum allowed any student to come in and voice any concerns in regards to St. John’s so that SGI representatives and committees could provide a solution or meet with the proper departments to solve the issue. The main topics tackled during the forum were dining services, academic life, residence life and facilities. Beginning with issues in regards to dining services, students expressed their concerns about the dining options on campus. A student brought to attention that while Subway offers a vegetarian meal exchange option, it does not offer a pescatarian meal exchange option. SGI said they would be meeting with dining services and express this concern. Another issue concerning dining brought up during this part of the meeting was the current closure of Pan Asia in D’Angelo Center. SGI said at this point in time there’s still a safety issue in that area due to the gas pipes. There is a request in place, but it has yet to be approved. However, if the restaurant is not able to reopen, another one will be opened to replace it. Another issue brought up by students was the lack of meal plan options on the weekend. The meal plan options offered during the weekend seems too limited to some SJU students.

SGI stated that some of this concern stems from the issue that students do not fully understand the meal plan. Some solutions proposed were the extensions of certain service times in Montgoris Dining Hall as well as the creation of a more comprehensive list of the meal plan options which may lessen and confusion regarding the meal plan. Another dining issue that students voiced was the amount of meal swipes offered within the meal plans. Currently, 10 premium swipes are offered. One student wanted this value to be raised. Also, one meal plan offers 14 meal swipes, but there is not an option for 21. SGI said that of these types of meal swipes may be possible to add to meal plans, but since the meal plans are based on a dollar value, the cost would rise as well. In terms of facilities, many concerns were cen-

tered around both Century and Sullivan Halls. Handicap services, such as automatic doors in Sullivan Hall are still broken. SGI said they would contact facilities and public safety to get these services running as soon as possible. Continued on page 3 ...


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UniversityIssues Hiring Pause Morgan C. Mullings St. John’s in implementing a “hiring pause because of lower than expected net tuition revenue, according to an email from President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw that was sent to the University community this month. The Torch obtained a copy of the email sent on Nov. 15 that announces the various initiatives designed to ensure financial stability. “While the University did enroll a firstyear class of 3,135 students ... merit scholarships and financial aid also significantly increased given the heightened competition for students. Our total institutional financial aid is projected to reach $278 million this year, up from $269 million last year. Several other factors have contributed to this year’s lower net tuition revenue,” University Spokesperson Brian Browne said in a statement to the Torch. He also cites the departure of a large graduating class, lower sophomore retention and lower transfer student enrollment. His statement, as quoted, directly mirrors the contents of the Gempesaw email to the University community. Browne’s statement, as well as the Gempesaw email described the hiring pause as having an indefinite end. “The University will implement a hiring pause for full-time administrator/staff positions effective immediately. Key vacancies necessary to support strategic initiatives and critical operations will be considered for recruitment or replacement. The University will consider lifting the hiring pause in the Spring semester,” Browne said. In order to regain lost revenue, the Uni-

versity is also implementing budget givebacks. Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “giveback” in the financial sense as “a previous gain (such as an increase in wages or benefits) given back to management by workers (as in a labor contract).” In this case, the giveback would be budget givebacks from operating budgets in all areas of the University. “The primary goal of these givebacks is to generate budgetary savings while avoiding disruption of services to our students,” Browne said. It is also possible that these givebacks could continue into the 20202021 school year. “But that will be decided during the FY21 budget planning process in the coming months,” he said. In the past, St. John’s has attempted to recover from 2014’s enrollment decline by implementing selective hiring. In an interview with the Torch in 2018, President Gempesaw said “Many schools, when they face enrollment declines…They attempt to increase revenues by increasing tuition. We have not done that here during my time as president.” At that time, Gempesaw insisted there was not a hiring freeze in place. “A hiring freeze means that we are not hiring across the board in all academic and administrative units at the University,” he said then. “That’s not the case.” Gempesaw also told the Torch during the 2018 interview that the University is 92 percent dependent on tuition and fee revenue and was still recovering from a 12 percent decline in enrollment in 2014. The University, much like all private schools in the state, have been competing to recruit students against the Excelsior Scholarship, which since 2017 has provided free tuition to state schools for households with less than $100,000 of income.

Continued from page 2 ... In Century Hall, some students had concerns with the broken washing machines and evidence of cockroaches present. SGI said calling facility services or even public safety would bethe best option for residents in these situations. However, it was mentioned that in some cases these issues start from within and to be mindful that it may not be just the University’s fault. Some students were also concerned about a possible $1,000 fee if Spring housing is canceled. While more information can be found by contacting the Office of Residence Life, one student said this fee is excluded for students who will be studying abroad. Lastly, the heat and hot water issues were due to the replacement of a boiler in St. John’s Hall. SGI will speak to The Office of Residence Life About better communication since some did not receive proper notice. When the discussion moved to issues within the residence halls, the voiced concerns were mainly focused around issues that could be fixed by Facility Services. SGI said putting in a request form with Facilities Services would be the best option. This can be done through MySJU, under the “Reslife” tab. The next issue was about Public Safety and the guest policies within the residence halls. The student services committee plans to meet with Public Safety around the perceived

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Staten Island’s ‘The Bolt’ Links with the Torch Sophie Selwood Staten Island campus’ multimedia outlet, “The Bolt” will be joining forces with the Torch” in the coming year to present new ideas and a wider range of coverage between campuses. Founded in 2017, The Bolt is the Staten Island campus’ multimedia outlet, run by a group of ten students which focuses on events and topics of importance and campus each week and comes up with creative content to deliver to the students’ population. The Bolt runs a weekly news program called “The Bulletin” where news reporters film segments detailing events happening in the upcoming week on campus and interesting features for the week which is posted on the instagram page and website. This was a recent expansion for the outlet as podcasts were previously the main focus, but the move to video journalism has been gaining more attention for programming. Student journalists also cover events and topics on campus and write feature articles for the website’s blog page. Recently, The Bolt expanded to cover sports at St. Johns, beginning with Red Storm Basketball coverage where game summaries are written, as well as live reports from games at Madison Square Garden. The multimedia outlet has been a huge success, and President Brian Borgeson noted that “the Bolt has become the perfect place for Staten Island Campus students studying Communications or TV/Film to express their interests. Specializing in different areas or media such as video, podcast and journalism has enabled the Bolt to create content that both informs and entertains the community on campus.” With exciting new ideas and projects on the way, The Bolt looks forward to expanding the platform further in 2020.

inconsistencies surrounding guest policy violations — specifically, how certain situations are deemed as violations for some and not for others. However, it was stated that the guest policy for on-campus residents changed due to Resident Assistants (RA) being concerned with the amount of violations given out which was making their job more rigorous. Many students felt that if they live on campus, they should not have to leave another residence hall at 3 AM. This policy changed a while ago, so it may be subjected to change if both current students and current RA’s support the change. The last topic covered concerned issues in academic affairs. Some of the main concerns voiced by students were professors’ meeting policies, the tutoring center and registration. Some students had issues with their professors’ office hours. The academic affairs committee plans to address the concerns, but they stated that full time professors are required to have office hours for students. The tutoring center had numerous issues such as, the option to schedule math tutors being taken away, the qualifications of Chemistry and Math tutors and the Global Language and Culture Center (GLCC). The academic affairs committee plans to meet to redefine the qualifications for tutors and what the current standards are since these students are paid. Tutoring sessions at the GLCC are required for some foreign

languages, however, there is a limited number of tutors and some tutors just read the textbook. This issue will also be looked into. In regards to registration, SGI suggested those who scheduled late and need to be in a class for pre-requisite purposes or graduation time, should email the professor or go to their dean.


4 Opinion

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Flames of the Torch 97TH MANAGING BOARD Morgan C. Mullings/ EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Amanda Negretti/ MANAGING EDITOR Andreina Rodriguez NEWS EDITOR

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Maria Keddis

ASSISTANT CULTURE EDITOR

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Spencer Clinton CREATIVE DIRECTOR

Nick Bello

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Sydney Denham

OPINION EDITOR

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Sydney Denham Olivia Mathon Anna McFillin Rachel Johnson Alana Loren Bethea Jewel Antoine Brendan Murray Nick McCreven J.P. Devetori Sara Rodia Samantha DeNinno Madelyn Starks Kenneth Carter

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The Torch is the official, independent student newspaper of St. John’s University. The Torch is written, edited, designed and produced by students of the University. The Torch is published on most Wednesdays, with approximately 20 issues throughout the academic year. Copies are distributed for free on campus and through mail subscriptions.

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Staff Editorial: Fall Semester Recap With 2019 coming to a quick end, we look back on all the stories that you as a St.John’s community have shared with us. Thank you for allowing us to share your stories, accomplishments and opinions. We started the school year with the several renovations that were made throughout campus. The furniture was replaced in DAC, the equipment was updated in the gym and much more. You have shared your opinions on the upcoming elections, Black Friday, DACA, Monty’s, mental health and Amazon. We met student and alumni entrepreneurs who have been turning their passions into realities. Donovan Carnegie-Salmon Jr. who created Yos Apparel where he uses his life as inspiration for his designs, Stripped Beauty was created by senior Melissa Arpino who started her company with her mom. Toushis Azad is a full time student and magician where he shares his talent with several celebrities. Some celebrity guests appeared this semester to share their talent, knowledge and some fun. Jimmy Fallon had a special appearance on campus and taught us some quick meal recipes. Juice WRLD performed in Carnesecca arena for Tip-Off and sang his hit song “Lucid Dreams.” Dave East attended a Q&A -- hosted by WSJU -- in the Little Theater to discuss his new album with students. Mike Anderson made his SJU debut and Men’s Soccer made it to number one. Our sports writers expanded their features on men’s and women’s sports, in volleyball especially. With SGI approving 13 new organizations on campus, students have a better

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opportunity to find passions outside of the classroom. The non-advisory organizations include Her Campus, L.I.V.E Dance Crew, Ignite, Deaf Language and Culture Society (DLCS), and many more. Several organizations created charity events and raised money for people in need. The Muslim Student Assocation lead a Marvel-themed charity week. St. John’s Campus Ministry has continued to help students get involved in giving back - especially during the holiday season. Alpha Phi Omega -- the St.John’s service fraternity -who plan and run service events. Phi Iota Alpha gives help to schools internationally. We were introduced to new entertainment that made the stressful school year a little more bearable. Kanye released his 11 track album “Jesus is King” in September. Lana Del Rey also released her fifth studio album “Norman F******g Rockwell” as an end of the summer banger. Harry Styles announced his new album and releasing “Watermelon Sugar” on Saturday Night Live mid November. Disney announced their new streaming service that allows us to relive our childhood. We watched three professors on campus resign, which started a conversation about diversity within administration, and most recently reported on a hiring pause implemented by the president. After the Princeton Review statistics came out stating that St. John’s Students aren’t happy, we got a chance to sit down with President Gempesaw. Chronicling the history of this University is chaotic at times, but always exciting. While we’re happy to take a break this winter, we are more than ready to start spring semester strong.


Opinion 5

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N E W Y E A R S

R E S O L U T I O N S

Thinking of changing your look for the New Year, or finally doing something on your bucket list? What does 2020 have in store for you? See what a few of your fellow Johnnies have to say about their New Year resolutions.

Destinee Tyler Scott I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’ve made a lot of bad decisions this year. Between planning for the future to my dating life, I haven’t put much thought into anything. Spontaneity became my best friend this year, and although it may have been fun for the time being, it’s not a lifestyle I can live forever. So, as 2019 ends and 2020 begins, I think it’s time for me to get back to my roots and I believe many people can relate. Throughout college, many students get caught up trying to navigate their new lives and exercise their newfound independence while also trying to find themselves. Sometimes it’s easy to get lost or completely erase what you already know and value. Whether that’s prioritizing your schoolwork over your social life or even suddenly questioning whether or not you actually like your major. Sometimes these looming decisions and thoughts make us forget who we are which can build up and lead us to make the wrong choices throughout the year. A new year allows us to reclaim our roots by reminding us why we’re on a certain path. It makes us take a step back and analyze all the things we did over the past year and all the decisions we’ve made. I’ve already gotten a head start on this process and have begun taking steps that I feel will get me back to my happiest and healthiest self, like finally scheduling a gynecologist exam and making an effort to make new friends. Although these are small steps, they will have a big outcome — so if you’re anywhere on the same boat with me, take small steps to begin reclaiming your roots in the new year.

Dana Livingston I am convinced that, although the holiday season brings the world lots of joy as we get closer and closer to the new year, it also leads up to the time of year when we lie to ourselves the most. As the end of this decade quickly approaches, I’ve started to look back at 2019 and my life as a whole. The end of December has always been a time during which I reflect on the year and the type of person that I would like to be in the future. For me, as is the case for many people, part of the process of becoming the person that I’d like to be in the near future is making a New Year’s resolution. What goal or standard would I like to set for myself this year? But here’s my problem with New Year’s resolutions; many times we set goals as our resolutions that are unrealistic. We tell ourselves, “new year, new me,” although it takes more than a year to become the person that you may want to be. In my eyes, most resolutions, due to their unrealistic nature, only lead to a future sadness that comes around right about the end of December when looking back on what I wanted to accomplish. Sure, goals within set time frames are healthy and may be realistic, but a year is oftentimes not enough time to complete a goal aimed at changing your life. No, you probably won’t find the love of your life within a year or start living a stress-free life because life really doesn’t work out that way. It would be more realistic to try and take the stairs every so often or eat a fruit or vegetable a day. But what I’m really saying is, let’s make our “resolutions” to stop waiting for a new month or a new year to turn over a new leaf. Grab hold of the reins of life today and steer yourself in the direction you’d like to go.

Sara Rodia Every year countless people make New Year’s resolutions, and every year countless people break those New Year’s resolutions by the end of January. I’m not going to lie, I tend to be one of these people, but this year my goal is to make a New Year’s resolution and actually stick to it, and I encourage all of you to do the same. New Year’s resolutions are really a fantastic concept. Everyone has habits, activities, etc. that they’d like to change or something that they’d like to accomplish, so setting a New Year’s resolution to try and change or accomplish something in the new year is a fantastic idea. My New Year’s resolution this year is going to be to try more new foods. I’m a pretty picky eater — think about the most basic foods and that’s essentially what I eat — which inspired the idea for my resolution. Another key point as to why I am making this my resolution this year is that I am studying abroad next semester. One of the biggest parts of learning about a new culture is the food, so I want to broaden my horizons by trying new foods in the places I visit! This resolution is something that will benefit me and is actually attainable. Making a resolution that is attainable is an important part of creating a New Year’s resolution. You’re much more likely to keep a resolution that isn’t too far-fetched than you are to keep one that is. A New Year’s resolution is a great way to achieve something you’ve wanted or fix an action or habit you’ve been meaning to fix, so going into 2020 I implore you to make and keep a New Year’s resolution!


A DEC ADE AT THE TORCH The Torch has been reporting on the St. John’s community for nearly 100 years. As we approach the end of the decade, we reached out to past Editors in Chief about the last ten years. Below are some of the most memorable feats of SJU student journalism, as told by eight of the decade’s EICs.

Bill San Antonio San Antonio is a marketing/communications professional in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. “Perhaps the biggest challenge we faced was organizing our coverage of the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, which for most of us will forever be the definitive historical event of our lives. We determined our best course of action would be to gather as many stories from that morning as we could from as many of our brothers and sisters in the St. John’s community — students, faculty, administrators, public safety officers, maintenance workers, whomever — as would be willing to speak on the record to a group of student journalists. We felt an enormous pressure and responsibility to honor the memories of those who lost their lives that day and in the weeks, months and years that followed. It was also important for us to be respectful of those whose memories of that day were still raw and full of grief. Tragic stories are never easy for journalists to tell, whether filtered through broader reportage or presented directly from the sources themselves, as we did with our ‘man on the street’-style presentation. I’d like to think our reporters learned valuable lessons in sensitivity, patience and compassion that can only be attained by gaining the trust of your sources, and I am forever grateful to those who were brave enough to share their stories — dark as they may have at times been — with us.”

Michael E. Cunniff Cunniff is a litigation associate at Covington & Burling, a law firm in New York. He lives with his wife, Nicole Valente, former managing editor, and is still a SJUBB season ticket holder. “Much of my year as editor-in-chief was spent reacting to events – specifically, the trial and shocking death of former dean Cecilia Chang and the fallout that eventually resulted in the “retirement” of then-University President Rev. Donald Harrington and the resignation of his chief of staff, Robert Wile. However, the story that stands out to me was one more focused on the SJU student experience. It is hard to believe in hindsight, but in 2013, the University was perceived as punishing (directly or indirectly) students for being outspoken on LGBTQ+ issues, with one alumnus telling us that he had almost been fired as an RA for writing a Torch editorial on LGBTQ+ issues. We knew we needed to report on this issue, but we struggled mightily to get LGBTQ+ students to go on the record talking about their experiences. The students were not the only ones uncomfortable with going on the record. The University made key administrators unavailable for comment until after our deadline. We stuck to our guns and refused to push our story. The University quickly scheduled a day-of-publication interview. The ensuing interview (led by Kieran Lynch, our then-features editor/wunderkind) was contentious, but respectful, and made clear to us that the University’s position toward LGBTQ+ students was untenable. Reading it back nearly seven years later, it remains shocking to me how poor the on-campus environment was for LGBTQ+ students. Happily, regardless of whether our story had anything to do with it, St. John’s established the student group Spectrum the following year. The views on LGBTQ rights were also changing across the nation, with the U.S. Supreme Court issuing its Windsor decision just a few months after our article, paving the way for its Obergefell decision two years later that would make same-sex marriage the law of the land. On campus, things appear to be improving as well; the University even has a preferred name policy, which would have been laughably unthinkable in 2013. The University may never be a leader on these types of social issues, but it appears to have made progress on treating all students with compassion and dignity, which should be the minimum for a Catholic institution.”

Kieran Lynch

Samantha Albanese

Lynch is an audience editor for the New York Daily News.

Albanese recently graduated from New York Law School and is currently an Empire Fellow with the New York State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs.

“Our editorial board was no stranger to big stories and investigations when we took over. Many of us had worked on the previous year’s coverage of alleged corruption between then-President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, his Chief of Staff Rob Wile and former dean Cecilia Chang. But with that mostly in the rear-view mirror, we put together our first three issues as a group and were ready to head into the summer. Then Harrington resigned. The seemingly strategic news drop – two days after distribution of our final scheduled issue for the semester – came on a Friday afternoon when the only things on our minds were next week’s finals and playing catch on the Great Lawn. That became a frenetic few days of deciding whether we should put out a paper and what timeline was possible. Through the hard work of our new staff and some help from the graduating seniors, we put together an eight-page special edition. We made the decision to move forward with the special issue the Sunday after he resigned and had the paper on newsstands by that Wednesday morning. In between were story assignments, designing a paper and calling the printer. The pace became possible because of the willingness of editors and writers to put in an extra few days of long hours to report on an essential story for St. John’s. I was proud of the staff not only for getting out the news story, but for the perspective we brought from every angle – good and bad. The scandal, the development, the future, but also what Harrington had done to transform the school over the previous two decades, most notably ushering in dorm life on campus. Every piece played a part in St. John’s history, and its culmination will be remembered because of our crazy week and dedication to the story.”

“The most memorable piece from my time as Editor-in-Chief was from the September 17, 2014 issue featuring the interview with the then-new SJU President. It was written by the News Editor Talia Tirella, who followed me as co-editor-in-chief, and I remember it being a time for us to build relations with the administration. At the start of my time as EIC, we had just been moved to a basement newsroom, away from the student hub where we previously were amongst the student population. (Looking at the PDF issue, we addressed this briefly in Flames of the Torch). From what I recall, there was some tension between us and some members of administration because of how unhappy we were with the move. We felt it was retaliation from our honest reporting of some recent scandals that plagued the school at the time. Regardless, at the start of the new semester and for our first issue of the Fall, we were looking forward to a fresh start. The staff was happy to have been granted some time with President Conrado “Bobby” Gempesaw, and to get to know him and provide the student body with some information about their new president. I remember our staff was thrilled to have a president of St. John’s who himself perfectly embodies what SJU is all about and was actively meeting with students to get their opinion on how to better the school that they attend, and appeared to have a lot of goals and ideas to implement. There were a lot of moments as EIC that I remember and look back fondly on. Staying at the newsroom until two or three a.m. to get the paper out is truly an experience I will never forget, and it puts into perspective the amount of time and thought put into the traditional journalistic process!”

Talia Tirella

Suzanne Ciechalski

Angélica M. Acevedo

Morgan C. Mullings

Tirella is a booking producer for Maria Bartiromo’s morning show on Fox Business, “Mornings with Maria.”

While Ciechalski’s favorite job will always be the one she had at the Torch, she is currently a social newsgathering reporter at NBC News, specializing in digital verification and social discovery.

Acevedo is a reporter covering western Queens for the Queens Courier, TimesLedger Newspapers and other local newspapers owned by Schneps Media.

Mullings is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Torch and an intern at Rolling Stone Magazine.

“There were so many events and stories during my time at the Torch that helped shape the culture of St. John’s that we know today – it’s hard to choose just one that might be considered my ‘favorite.’ But of all the stories we covered, one I can’t shake is the year Desiigner performed at the St. John’s basketball tip-off and quite literally took Carnesecca Arena by storm. Desiigner, who was just 19 at the time, had his mic cut and was ushered out of the arena in the middle of his performance that night, after he went into RedZone’s section of the stands, ripped off his shirt, jumped on the DJ stand and, finally, encouraged students to storm the court (I checked our story to make sure the sequence of events was correct). SJU later said they were looking into safety changes for future Tip-Off performances. “I love St. John’s,” Desiigner told the Torch in a statement, after the fact. “Thank you for turning up with me! You already know what time it is!” If you visit the Torch office, you’ll see our sports editors that year proudly hung his email on a bulletin board above their desk. It’s still there and we still talk about it way more than we probably should. I wasn’t at Tip-Off that year, but received more texts than my phone could handle from friends asking if the Torch was there, and my eboard, who were describing the scene. We were all obsessed with it, and still enjoy recounting every bit of it – from the night it actually happened, to our (award-winning) issue and front page that week. It was a night that went down in St. John’s and Torch history, and easily one of my favorite stories of all time.”

“As the EIC for the 2018 - 2019 school year, there was no shortage of memorable stories that I wrote and edited for the newspaper. One of my most memorable stories though, was the article I wrote in response to #SurvivingSJU, which was a hashtag started by SJU students on Twitter to reveal the devastating stories of sexual assault that they experienced on campus. It all began after the documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly,” premiered — but no one could’ve foreseen the hashtag trending nationally and receiving coverage from national news outlets as well. This all caused the university to look into the many sexual assault claims that past and present students shared, but there were still many questions left unanswered. The Torch continued to cover any updates that came as a result of #SurvivingSJU, such as a panel the university held a few weeks after spring classes started and providing students with outside resources they could use if needed. Personally, I wanted to focus on something that addressed the university’s data from the Clery Report, which many students were questioning at the time. After looking through it and other reports, such as the anonymous student campus climate surveys, I noticed that there were indeed inconsistencies with the reported numbers and stories from students. Although I couldn’t get in-person interviews, I did manage to get answers via email to my questions from the university’s spokesperson, Student Wellness’ director and Public Safety’s director. I thought a Q&A format would be the easiest to read and organize, especially for a topic as complicated and data-heavy as this one. In the end, I’m happy with the coverage we dedicated to this particular issue.There’s always so much more we can look into as journalists, but when you’re juggling so many responsibilities as student journalists, every story that we can do responsibly counts for a lot.”

“My term as editor-in-chief started off with a breaking story that I felt wildly unprepared for. I guess you’re never prepared for the gravity of a big story – election cheating allegations against the current SGI executive board. When I was first elected as EIC I had a lot of development goals for the upcoming year and they were all kind of thwarted by this moment where I was responsible for setting the record straight on a campus-wide controversy. In the next decade, I’m wondering what will stop the staff in their tracks; a story that will call for emergency meetings, an extra hour in the office, an impromptu meeting with a source. It all seems so small in hindsight, when I’m sitting in DAC Living Room and a friend asks me, “do you think they did it?” I smile politely and tell them “It isn’t my job to weigh in. If I wanted to, I would write an editorial,” knowing fully that they may not care about the difference. After all of the stress of making tough decisions on deadline, I cherish just educating people on what student journalists (and professional journalists) actually do. Because a lot of people simply don’t know. It’s caused tension between the Torch and many people at St. John’s: lack of understanding. And while it would be easiest for me to be upset (and I do get upset, I’m still a regular student here too, part of my own readership) I just choose to understand where the disconnect is coming from and try to bridge the gap, and lead my team in the same way. I let people know what I’ve learned from these past editors. I’ve expanded on some of their dreams by securing small things like a custom sign on our office door, meetings with administrators who have never even seen our office, an updated constitution and style guide, new staff membership requirements and biweekly meetings, and educational workshops. We do this, every day, and we work incredibly hard at it. I’m excited because it isn’t just for the current staff, it’s for the next decade of Torchies that will use these resources, as well as the legacy that I am so grateful to even have the privilege to contribute to.”

“Lots of big news happened during my time at the Torch, and we always had so many impactful stories from all of the great editors we had every year! A singular moment that stands out to me is covering the 2015 Paris terrorist attacks. I worked with our news editor Amanda Umpierrez to update the Torch website with information as the attacks happened in real time. We wanted to make sure that parents and friends of St. John’s study abroad students and staff would be able to check a St. John’s source and know that their loved ones were safe on the Paris campus. A former roommate helped me to confirm that everyone was safe and accounted for, which was a huge relief. Amanda went on to cover the vigil held on the Queens campus and I made sure to get updated statements from the administration about protocol and activities at the Paris campus in the weeks after the attack. I hope our reporting that story helped to inform the St. John’s community and reassure parents and friends that study abroad students were safe. An event like that makes you realize how small the world really is and how important it is to communicate information in your personal life or through a free press.”

TORCH PHOTO\SOPHIE WILLIAMS | TORCH DESIGN\DAYRA SANTANA


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Culture

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Alimama Tea

Revolutionizing Bubble Tea since 2018 Jennalynn Fung New York City is a playground for foodies with carefully crafted confections on every street corner. Alimama, a dessert restaurant in Manhattan’s Chinatown at 89A Bayard Street, opened in late February of 2018. Boba, also known as “Bubble Tea,” has been on the rise in recent years, but Janie Wang, the owner of Alimama Tea, has revolutionized the Taiwanese drink by whipping them into deliriously delicious pastries. I learned of the pastry shop through pictures of Alimama drinks and mochi donuts on artist Leon Karssen’s Instagram story. On a whim, I decided to trek from Queens to Chinatown to see if the taste truly lived up to its appetizing appearance. I distinctly remember ordering the signature Boba Milk Tea Cream Puff (right, $5) and a White Peach Sencha drink ($5). I initially thought the food was a tad overpriced, but the moment I took a sip of the drink and a bite of the pastry, I suddenly understood why so many people before me were willing to hand over a Hamilton for two pastries. The second time I went to Alimama, it was to try their Thai Tea Boba Cream Puff, which is one of the best things I’ve eaten in NYC. The ratio of cream to dough is perfect. The crust itself is delicate, buttery and flaky, with some powdered sugar at the top. Despite the messiness that may ensue as you scramble to eat this pastry in its entirety, it is absolutely worth it. I had the opportunity to speak with Wang about Alimama Tea. She describes herself as a creative person, who was always interested in the arts — particularly mixing and matching, whether it be paints or flavors. Her inspiration for Alimama was boba. Wang wanted to create something that tasted just like the drink, but was also new and exciting. In addition to the very tasty treats that Alimama bakes, the interior decor is eye-catching with warm-toned flowers and gold accents. There’s also a space for people to sit, talk and enjoy the food itself. Wang didn’t hesitate to acknowledge that the friendly and welcoming atmosphere the staff emanates is what makes Alimama unique. “It’s the little things that make a difference; we try to be as inviting as possible to anyone who wants to try our foods, which is why we have both gluten-free and vegan options,” Wang said. Alimama is an environmentally conscious shop; they use paper utensils and straws, as well as compostable boxes to pack the pastries. Wang mentioned that although it is expensive, it’s worth it. “I have the ability to control what is wasted. Although I’m only one person out of a billion, my action matters,” she said with both pride and confidence. In regard to her plans for Alimama in the future, Wang takes it day-by-day because spontaneity is both a part of her personality and it is what drove her business to be so successful. If she were to open another shop, it would be in downtown New York City. I highly recommend Alimama Tea to anyone looking for trendy and tasty food, authentic drinks and friendly service that they can’t get anywhere else. Janie Wang, the owner and chef of Alimama Tea, is exceptionally kind, caring and clearly has a passion for the food she makes. For boba lovers, i guarantee that you’ll regret not trying Alimama.

Torch Photo/ jennalynn fung

Save This Romantic Comedy for “The Knight Before Christmas” Amanda Negretti

photo courtesy / youtube netflix

If you are looking for a cheesy Christmas movie that doesn’t require too much attention, then Netflix’s original “The Knight Before Christmas” is the one for you. This movie stars Vanessa Hudgens and Josh Whitehouse, bringing the perfect romantic comedy for movie nights with the girls or a date night idea. It is a predictable storyline with the typical falling in love with a prince charming fantasy. Whitehouse plays Sir Cole, a knight in shining armor from Norwich, England, who time travels from the year 1334 to 2019. Sir Cole must find his “quest” before midnight on Christmas Eve or he will never be a true Knight, as told by a Crone who cast this spell on him. Brooke –– played by Hudgens –– and Sir Cole meet on a snowy night in Ohio, when Brooke almost hits Sir Cole with her car. Thinking his amnesia resulted from Vanessa Hudgens plays Brooke in Netflix’s latest holiday film, the head injury from the accident, Brooke lets Sir Cole “The Knight Before Christmas.” stay with her until his memory returns –– so she thinks.

Sir Cole interacts with modern televisions, Amazon’s Alexa and cars, or as he calls them, “steel steeds” –– for the first time. He adjusted to the new technology with ease as if the six-hundred-year gap didn’t perplex him at all. I caution you to leave your practicality at the door. You can see that Whitehouse and Hudgens have chemistry between them, but some scenes were cringe-worthy, like when Brooke introduces herself to Sir Cole and he goes down on his knee and kisses her hand in the hospital. Nevertheless, there are some nice messages throughout the film about giving back for Christmas by helping those who are not as fortunate. Every Christmas Eve Brooke holds an event for the people in her community who don’t have a place to go for the holidays. Some of these moments really pull at the heart strings and can make you a little teary eyed. The setting of the film definitely resembles a fantasy with the snow, lights and festive community feel. It is one of those typical Hallmark movies that you think you’re not going to like but secretly return to every holiday season.


Culture

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9

It’s the End of the 2010s as We Know It Grace Greer The 2010s are coming to an end and so are our childhoods. Events over the past years have challenged us and made us who we are, whether it be keeping up with politics, learning about the college admission scandals or participating in the global, “What color is the dress?” phenomenon. Here are some students’ favorite songs, memes, fashion trends, slang, books, celebrity couples and scandals of the decade.

Harmony Peet, Freshman

Torch photos/ sophie williams

Major: Global Development Favorite Fashion Trend: Air Force 1s Favorite Slang: “Extra” What Color is the Dress: Blue and Black Laurel or Yanny: Laurel Favorite Celebrity Couple Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds

Anna Gibson, Senior Major: Public Relations Favorite Song: “Thank U, Next” by Ariana Grande Favorite Meme: Kermit Favorite Fashion Trend: High-waisted jeans Favorite Slang: “Bet” Favorite Scandal: Impeachment Hearings

Photo Courtesy/ ANna gibson

Mark Miller, Senior

Lorenzo Casanova, Freshman

Major: Finance and International Business Favorite Fashion Trend: Crocs Favorite Slang: “It be like that sometimes” What Color is the Dress: White and Gold Laurel or Yanny: Yanny Favorite Celebrity Couple: Sophie Turner and Joe Jonas

Major: Risk Management and Insurance Favorite Fashion Trend: All Black Favorite Book: “The Mouse That Roared” by Leonard Wibberley What Color is the Dress: Blue and Black Laurel or Yanny: Laurel Favorite Scandal: Jeffrey Epstein torch photo/ grace greer

Sara Nicaj, Freshman Major: Biology Favorite Fashion Trend: Low Rise Jeans Favorite Song: “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga Favorite Book: “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins Favorite Scandal: Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson Favorite Celebrity Couple: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Anne Marie Romain, Junior Major: Psychology Favorite Song: “Show Love” by Kiana Ledé Favorite Meme: Blinking Guy Favorite Book: “The Namesake” by Jhumpa Lahiri Laurel or Yanny: Laurel Favorite Scandal: Lori Loughlin College Scandal

The Ambitious Irishman Taimur G. Martin Scorsese’s pedigree of work has earned him the title of the greatest director in the history of American cinema. From “Raging Bull” to “Goodfellas,” to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” music video, Scorsese’s work has left an indelible mark on American pop culture. “The Irishman” is his latest triumph, which boasts a three-and-a-half-hour runtime and the biggest budget of his career. It is a morose, composed tale of the thrills and tragedies of mob life and its devastating aftermath. ​“The Irishman” is based on the 2004 book, “I Heard You Paint Houses” by Charles Brandt. It’s a narrative with confessions of the crimes of Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a hitman for the Bufalino crime family, who was close to the enigmatic Teamsters Union head, James “Jimmy” Hoffa. With a priceless cast headed by Robert De Niro as Sheeran, Al Pacino as Hoffa and Joe Pesci as Russell –– the head of the Bufalino family –– “The Irishman” tells a sprawling tale of death and tragedy in the world of organized crime. Hoffa, pursued by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, went

missing in 1975 and was never found. Al Pacino delivers a fitting performance for such an elusive figure in American history. De Niro is refined as the often ruthless Sheeran, expressing the brutality of his work with a stark froideur. The film’s most endearing performance belongs to Pesci who not only came out of semi-retirement for the role but also leaves his usual histrionics for his iconic role as a reserved, calculated boss not daunted by the task of eliminating Hoffa. De-aging effects are used to mostly great effect to portray the seventysix-year-old De Niro as a mid-forties Sheeran with pale blue eyes. ​While mafia life has often been portrayed as glamorous throughout American media, Scorsese abandons the luxury it’s associated with and focuses on its wake of destruction. The film has the recurring motif of introducing a new character along with when and how they met their grisly deaths. A sense of eventual perish is emphasized throughout the film, sparing no detail to the constant sense of unpredictability in this twisted underworld where loyalties spanning decades dissipate.

For such a violent era in American history, this can’t help but feel fitting, as the mafia has largely died down now. One of the film’s best reflections on the toll of this harrowing life is reflected through the isolation of Sheeran’s daughter Peggy, who grows fond of Hoffa. As Sheeran ages decrepit, he ultimately ends up as a forlorn figure, failing to reconcile with Peggy –– who suspects the blood on his hands –– and his choices. While Sheeran’s accounts were largely debunked, the mystery of what will ultimately happen to Hoffa adds a hint of suspense to the film. ​Scorsese has added to his repertoire of excellence with a film that towers above today’s releases. To see these iconic actors who have shared the screen throughout the years, adds to the malaise of the film as the viewer can’t help but wonder if this is indeed the final time. Paradoxically, viewers are delighted that Scorsese finally directs Al Pacino. “The Irishman”’s malaise parallels a bevy of tales that have defined some of the film’s greatest careers without sparing harsh realities of an end to an era.


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Culture

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torch design/ tauhid dewan

From Roomates to Sisters Ceci Sturman and Hannah Pruzinsky create indie music group, Sister

Jennalynn Fung Some people are destined to meet one another. Ceci Sturman and Hannah Pruzinsky co-created the indie music group Sister. They first met at St. John’s University in their first year as roommates in Donovan Hall. Five years later, they are still roommates, but are now based in Brooklyn after graduating in 2018 (Pruzinsky, a Physician Assistant, and Sturman, an English and Politics major, respectively). Although the public’s perception of musicians tends to be that artists are born with an intrinsic sense that music would become the cornerstone of their life, Sturman and Pruzinsky describe their paths to becoming artists as more free-flowing than deliberate. As a child, Pruzinsky would often sing and saw it as a past-time rather than a realistic career. Sturman describes it as a creative outlet that originally manifested itself in poetry and prose writing; with time, these art forms evolved into singing and music. Sturman and Pruzinsky didn’t consider forming a duo until they jokingly wrote a birthday song together for Ceci’s birthday in August 2017. Following their graduation, they both spent a month in Greece in refugee camps. During their time there, they volunteered and got to know the people affected by the immigration crisis personally. They describe it as a humbling experience, which inspired them more as creatives because it enabled them to write more empathetic and raw songs. During my interview with Sister, I asked them some questions about their recent debut, upcoming releases, their inspirations and advice that they could share with other budding artists. Q: Where does the name “Sister” come from? Pruzinsky: People have asked [us] if we are sisters, despite the fact that we don’t think we look very similar. We called ourselves it because of our level of closeness that has continued to grow since freshman year at SJU. Sturman: We act similarly and all of our life spheres interlap and we share clothes too. Q: What is the significance behind the lyrics “I can do anything or do nothing” in your debut single, “Chambers?” Pruzinsky: There are a lot of obligations and expectations for women. “Chambers” is about allowing yourself to be your inherent being and not needing any other identifiers. Sturman: But, the listeners get to decide who they are and how they get to exist. Having vague lyrics as well, allows the audience to identify with the song’s meaning however they want to. Pruzinsky: “Chambers” is about the female experience and the many roles that a woman has to take on. The truest essence and self is when you are alone. “Chambers” focuses on allowing that true form to be who

Sturman: Yes, I think subconsciously we both will write for and from the perspective of someone who might not have the ability to express themselves. Inherently, the purpose is to write about being vulnerable and the ugliness of life and friendships. “Internet Baby,” which is coming out November, is about me asking Hannah to be her roommate at SJU in freshman year. Pruzinsky: It’s silly, but also explores the dynamics and identity within a friendship. Q: Who should listen to your music? Who do you believe will connect best with it, aside from Indie-music lovers? Pruzinsky: I think we often attract a younger crowd, people similar to ourselves. Sturman: Yeah, I think we’re all young and angry (about Climate change, immigration, you name it), or at least I am. We believe that while our music can be heard by anyone, it’s geared specifically for open-minded individuals in their 20s. Not gender specific and sort of angsty. Q: Do you have any advice for college students/recent grads who want to pursue your music?

Photo Courtesy/ Ceci Sturman and Hannah pruzinsky

Hannah Pruzinsky (standing) and Ceci Sturman (seated) co-created indie music group, Sister, after meeting in their freshman year at St. John’s.

“ In college, write down everything you’re feeling... It’s important to give yourself that outlet. You never know what can come of it.” you are in all spheres, as well as who you need to be and who you need to share yourself as. Q: Which songwriters and genres have inspired you most? Sturman: Big Thief, Boy Genius, Sharon Van Etten, Angel Olsen, Bon Iver and Nicki Minaj’s verse in Monster. They don’t just have to be indie artists. We listen to a lot of synth pop, soft-punk and some rock. Q: What does your songwriting process look like? Pruzinsky: I write poetry and go back and forth between producing new lyrics and editing others. The music tends to come afterwards. Sturman: I actually do the opposite, I listen to music first, just strumming or playing

the guitar and then adding melodies. Finally, I add words. When we first started making music, I was writing songs and Hannah would sing them because I thought she had the most angelic voice. Now we both write and sing. And we might start the songwriting process by ourselves, but we finish the song together. Q: How do you guys compromise on what to add to the song’s lyrics? Sturman: We write separate songs and somehow merge them together. “Internet Baby,” however, was written together from the very beginning. Pruzinsky: Collaborating allows the influence and message of the song to grow. Q: Do you ever see your politics going into your music?

Sturman: Just do it. Take away pressure from it. If you look at music with the perspective of: “This has to be something, this has to go somewhere, this has to be my life,” there’s no joy in creating it. Allow yourself to process and ask yourself questions. Pruzinsky: Also, by learning more about yourself, you can do a lot of different things with music. In college, write down everything you’re feeling. Looking back on what I journaled, [I’m] like “wow.” Tumultuous time. Emotions are so vivid. Journaling is really helpful. It’s important to give yourself that outlet. You never know what can come of it. Pruzinsky and Sturman both describe themselves as perfectionists, which makes it difficult for them to establish a time to release the music; they’re constantly thinking of ways to elevate it even more. Pruzinsky shares that they both feel pressured that it won’t live up to what they had initially believed in. Sturman, with slight laughter, said that she didn’t listen to their song until a month after it had been released. As their music careers have gone on, though, they explained that they are both learning to appreciate their music for what it is. ~~ Want to listen to SISTER.? Their debut single, “Chambers” is available on all major streaming platforms and you can follow their journey on Instagram @sistermusicnyc. Their next single, “Internet Baby” is set to release on Jan. 3, 2020.


Sports 11

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Men’s Soccer Falls In The Sweet 16

TORCHPHOTO/NICK BELLO

Sydney Denham

The St. John’s University Men’s Soccer Team moved onto the Sweet Sixteen round of the NCAA Tournament to play Virginia in Charlottesville, after defeating Syracuse Saturday night at Belson Stadium. The No. 16 Johnnies fell to this top ranked team in a 3-0 loss at Klockner Stadium on Sunday night. This appearance in the Sweet Sixteen marked the 12th time for the St. John’s Men’s Soccer team. Their bid into the tournament was the 21st time in the past 28 seasons, including four College Cups and the 1996 national championship. Virginia did not waste any time for scoring in the game versus the Johnnies. In just the third minute, Virginia was up 1-0. From a Virginia corner kick, the ball was headed from the near post to the far post. This allowed the Cavaliers’ Andreas Ueland to find the back of the night, registering his first of two goals for the night. In the twelfth minute, the Johnnies saw their first shooting opportunity. Skage Simonsen carried the ball down the field and made it past two defenders on the right side of the field. A wide-open cross to freshman Jared Juleau led to a headed ball going just over the bar of the Virginia net. Another corner kick for the Cavaliers resulted in their second goal in the fifteenth minute. Ueland, again went for the net. Charging past St. John’s goalkeeper Jan Hoffelner, he shot the ball, leading Virginia over

St. John’s men’s Soccer finished their 2019-20 season with a 14-5-1 record, which included a bid into the NCAA Tournament.

St. John’s, 2-0. A penalty kick led to Virginia’s third goal with nine minutes left in the first half. The second half was a scoreless game. The Johnnies’ redshirt freshman goaltender, Luka Gavran, replaced Hoffelner. He had two saves in net during the second half.

Niko Petridis, Simonsen and Juleau all had shots on the Virginia net. Their three shots for St. John’s were outnumbered by Virginia’s 18 shots on net during the game. Regardless of the outcome of this matchup, St. John’s had a successful 2019 season. The Red Storm finished its 2019 season

with a 14-5-1 record. All five of these losses were to teams who advanced to at least the second round of the NCAA Tournament. These 14 wins tie for the highest number of total wins in a season back in 2008, when the Johnnies took home a College Cup.

Red Storm Dominates At Home But Struggles In Vegas Brendan Murray The St. John’s Women’s Basketball team continued their hot streak last Monday, as they defeated the University of Massachusetts Minutewomen 82-71. The Red Storm opened up the game on fire in the first quarter outscoring the Minutewomen 25-17 in the first quarter. Junior Qadashah Hoppie led the way for the Red Storm with nine points in the first quarter along with six from freshman Emma Nolan and five from redshirt junior Tiana England. The end of the quarter saw the Red Storm hold a 25-17 lead. In the second quarter, thanks to performances from Minutewomen Paige McCormic, Destiney Philoxy and Bre Hampton-Bey, UMass battled back into the game. Scoring 11, 10 and nine, respectively, the Minutewomen made the Red Storm sweat a little. When the half reached its conclusion the Red Storm were ahead 44-37. The Red Storm would come out of the halftime break with a fire lit under them. Hoppie started the quarter with 13 points and had 20 points with just a few minutes gone by in the quarter. Hoppie was looking to extend her streak of 22 points in four straight games. When Emma Nolan and Qadashah Hoppie were on the floor, the Red Storm offense was difficult to contain. Both recorded a plus/minus of over 20 by the end of the third quarter and were seemingly getting the ball on every offensive possession. The Red Storm were able to stretch out their lead to as much as 16 in the fourth quarter but the Minutewomen would not go

down so easily. This was thanks in large part to Hampton-Bay who was creating havoc for the Red Storm defense along with Angelique Ngalakulondi. Ngalakulondi finished the game with 11 points after ending the first half with a quiet four points. Following the victory, Emma Nolan and Qadashah Hoppie appeared with Coach Joe Tartamella to discuss the game. Hoppie with a last minute free throw was able to score 20 points for the fourth time in a row. “I’m not really paying attention too much to the numbers,” Hoppie said. “Just coming out here to play everyday and working my hardest.” After two straight starts, Emma Nolan knew that the game would be more physical than in high school. Yet, that wasn’t on her mind going out on the court. Nolan was more concerned about what she could do to help her teammates and help the Red Storm get to another victory on the young season. Tartamella highlighted the hot start that his team got out to but stressed that they were missing a key element in their game tonight. “I love how we started the first and how we started the third [quarters],” Tartamella said. “But we have to be more consistent through the game. Overall I am happy with the result and being able to get a win.” The Red Storm would travel to Las Vegas for the Lady Rebel Round-Up matching up in the first game with Indiana UniversityPurdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Redshirt senior Alisa Alston exploded for 18 points but the Red Storm were unable to edge out IUPUI, falling 85-78. Some of the standouts in the tough loss were Hoppie, Emma Nolan, and Leilani

Correa. Hoppie was unable to stretch her streak of 20 point games to five straight but finished with 14 points and a team leaking six-assists. Nolan finished with 12 points and shot six of seven from the free throw line. Freshman Correa finished with five points but grabbed a team high eight rebounds. The closest the Red Storm would get in this game would be at 64-64. After that, they were unable to keep pace. The Red Storm would get another chance to grab a win in Vegas with a matchup against UNLV. After forcing overtime the Red Storm were unable to edge out UNLV, falling 79-75. While a disappointing result Leilani Correa registered a career-high 20 points to go along with her eight rebounds and three steals. Correa also went a perfect 12-12 from the free throw line. Sophomore Kadaja Bai-

ley, England and Alston scored 13, 12 and 11, respectively. Hoppie struggled mightily in the game shooting 1-10 from the floor and turning the ball over four times. Nolan scored seven but got five of those points from the free throw line shooting only 1-5 from the floor. With a winless weekend in Vegas, two Red Storm players were able to shine through the tough losses. Correa, for the second time this season, was awarded Big East freshman of the week after scoring a career high 20 points. Alston earned a spot on the Big East weekly honor roll after averaging 12.7 points and shooting 66.7 percent from three-point range. The Red Storm will look to shed their twogame losing streak against Yale on Friday night in New Haven, Connecticut. TORCHPHOTO/NICK BELLO

Qadashah Hoppie’s 20 points helped push the Red Storm past UMass last Monday.


SPORTS December 4, 2019 | VOLUME 97, ISSUE 11

| TORCHONLINE.COM

BIG EAST CHAMPS! From St. John's to CBS Sports

TORCHPHOTO/NICK BELLO

Sydney Denham The St. John’s Volleyball team defeated No. 12 Marquette in four sets Saturday afternoon at the Al McGuire Center, taking the 2019 Big East Championship trophy back to Queens. This was the first conference championship for this program in 12 years. The Johnnies took the first two sets against Marquette, 25-20 and 25-22. After their opponents took the third set, 25-19, St. John’s did not give up. They grabbed the fourth set, 25-21, securing a bid in the NCAA Tournament. The Johnnies are the first fourth-seed team to win the tournament since 2013. “I think we had great team chemistry over the last few weeks, which was really great,” said Coach Joanne Persico in a post-game interview. “We’ve always had good team chemistry, but I thought in tough moments, we stayed composed.” Three of the Johnnies were honored for their performances during the tour-

nament. Efrosini Alexakou was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. She put down 29 kills across The team’s two victories. Senior setter Erica Di Maulo and sophomore right-side hitter Rachele Rastelli were also honored with opportunities to the All-Big East Tournament Team. Against Marquette, Alexakou had 19 kills and Rastelli had 15 kills. Di Maulo had 45 assists and 10 digs, four kills and three blocks. Other top players were Klara Mikelova, Amanda Sanabia and Ariadni Kathariou. Junior outside hitter Mikelova registered 10 kills and a match-high 18 digs. Senior Sanabia had 12 digs, and middle blocker Kathariou racked up both teams with five blocks. The Red Storm secured their lead early in the first set. With an early lead, 7-3, the Johnnies kept a consistent pace with blocks from Kathariou and Ratelli. This gave St. John’s with a 13-9 lead. Marquette made quick moves in an attempt

to take the lead, but St. John’s held it until the end. The Golden Eagles’ attack error helped the Johnnies close out the first set with a lead, 25-20. St. John’s kept Marquette on their toes during the second set. Again starting off with a four-point lead, the Johnnies refused to let up. Marquette crept up to make the score 7-6, but the Red Storm went on a 3-0 run. Despite how close the Golden Eagles were to overtaking the lead, St. John’s Rastelli capped off a 6-1 stanza. This brought the Red Storm to a seven-point lead, 22-15. Both teams exchanged points to make the score 23-21, but Mikelova gave St. John’s the second frame. With a 25-22 lead in the set, the Johnnies went up on a 2-0 match lead. Unlike the first two sets, St. John’s was down by four points early in the third, 8-4. Marquette held strong during this set. Katahriou put the Johnnies up to nine, only trailing by two points, 119. With such close scores through the rest of the third set, Marquette secured the win with two kills to grab their first

match victory, 25-19. After a defeat in the third set, the Johnnies held a tight battle with the Golden Eagles throughout the fourth. The set started off with a six-point tie. Marquette took the lead from here, 10-7. St. John’s shot back with a nine-1 scoring run with a pair of kills from Rastelli. This led the Johnnies up by five, 16-11. The Johnnies held this lead throughout the rest of the set. Rastelli and Mikelova each put up one more kill to lead the Johnnies to a victory. Finishing this matchup with a score of 25-21, St. John’s won the Big East title. “I told the team before that I usually bring a check-in bag, but I brought a big suitcase,” Coach Persico said. “I said, ‘We have to bring something home,’ so I’m really proud of this team and it will be a memorable day for us forever.” St. John’s will head to College Station, Texas to take on Texas A&M in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Profile for The Torch

Volume 97 Issue 11  

December 4, 2019 -- Torch Fall Semester

Volume 97 Issue 11  

December 4, 2019 -- Torch Fall Semester

Profile for sjutorch
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