Syracuse bounces back from error-plagued 1st set in upset win over Notre Dame

first_img Published on November 2, 2019 at 12:10 am Contact Roshan: rferna04@syr.edu | @Roshan_f16 The serve dropped right between Aliah Bowllan and Ella Saada as the two fell to their knees, reacting too late to the ball. Both assumed the other would collect the straightforward serve, summing up an error-plagued first set for Syracuse. It was a first set that saw Syracuse (7-11, 4-7 Atlantic Coast) record nine attacking errors and three service errors in addition to allowing Notre Dame (15-6, 8-3 ACC) to score on five service aces. Highlighted by miscues, errors, and uncharacteristic mistakes, it looked as though SU had dug itself a hole it might not recover from. “(Our) team had that feeling of like ‘we’re just not even playing,’” assistant coach Derryk Williams said. “When you give a team (more than) 15 points without them having to do anything, it’s tough to have momentum.”But SU showed its resilience after a 25-14 loss in the first set. Ultimately, the Orange pulled off the reversal, following their first set woes with regained confidence that allowed them to win the next three consecutive sets and upset the conference’s second-best team. Early on, Notre Dame had an answer for Polina Shemanova, the Orange’s top outside hitter. When the ACC leader in kills per set and points per set rose for a kill, she was met by four hands on numerous occasions. When Shemanova and Saada tried to hit around the blockers, they suffered from an excess of attacking errors. And when SU finally got some attacking momentum going, it was shut down by poor defensive play.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textMidway through the first set, the Fighting Irish managed to collect a strong kill from Saada, clearly catching the Orange off-guard. To secure the point, a Notre Dame player exposed a gaping hole in Syracuse’s defense by gently setting the ball into the space on SU’s side. “The first set is always the set where you’re not fully into the game,” Shemanova said. “You’re still making some adjustments, so the first set is usually not the best for our team.”Even Bowllan wasn’t her usual acrobatic self — countless miscues on what appeared to be simple digs had head coach Leonid Yelin out of his seat, providing vocal instructions far more often than usual. Playing against a powerhouse side like Notre Dame, Shemanova said you almost want to win more. The idea of beating a strong side gave the Orange psychological willpower and allowed them to reverse their fate after the first set, Shemanova said. The key to the bounce back: the confidence and rhythm that SU gained in the second set. Shemanova recorded her typical cross-court kill on multiple occasions after the first set. Saada returned from a three-game slump, tying her career-high of 21 kills and setter Elena Karakasi recorded a career-tying high of 43 assists. Karakasi’s improved setting, compared to the first set, allowed her outside hitters to avoid blockers and rack up kills. And once the Orange offense regained their poise, the roles were reversed — in the second, third and fourth sets, Syracuse’s offensive firepower was a mismatch for the Fighting Irish defense.Crucial blocks lead the way in the Orange’s defensive turnaround, something the team has struggled with all season. Karakasi was vital in the success, with two big-time solo blocks and one block assist. After firing an ineffective kill early in the fourth set, she came right back on the same point and won the long rally with a flawless block that gave Syracuse an early lead. “Elena blocked I think the best I’ve ever seen her block,” Williams said. “She had three or four in the fourth set alone, so that was awesome.”The team finished the game with 74 digs, the second most of the season thus far. Bowllan had countless diving efforts, and though Yelin continued to make frequent trips out of his seat to give his players instructions, the Orange were able to handle the Fighting Irish’s strong offense. Though there were no adjustments to the defensive system itself, Yelin said, the Orange’s execution was far more crisp in the ensuing sets.“Once we started playing hard and doing things the right way, (the way) that we like to do it, I think they struggled to find ways to score,” Williams said. “Third set and fourth set they were hitting right at us. What we were doing was working.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Fairbanks Ski Area Still Seeking Buyer

first_imgThe alpine ski area, Skiland, north of Fairbanks, made news last month when a mineral exploration project threatened to take over some of its trails. That’s been ironed out, but Skiland is still looking for a buyer.Download Audiolast_img