A Disappointing Season But A Promising Future

Thursday, Apr 08, 2021 at 11:39 pm by Sports Editor

Nick Luttrell

CitrusTV Volleyball Beat Reporter

On Friday, April 2, Syracuse Volleyball suffered a harsh 3-0 loss to Florida State in their season finale. Just about everything that could’ve gone wrong did just that. It was a disappointing way to end an up-and-down season.

Consistency seemed to be an issue all year long for Coach Yelin’s team. They started out the spring season at home and split games with North Carolina and Clemson. Then they had their next two games canceled because of COVID concerns. Next, they traveled to Blacksburg and lost back-to-back games. The returned home and won back-to-back games before finishing the season with 2 losses in a row.

It seemed to be the same narrative that I wrote about in February – a rollercoaster season. But as easy as it is to look at the negatives, you must sympathize with the Orange.

This entire spring season, Syracuse has been without two of their best players – Polina Shemanova and Marina Markova. Due to visa compliations, both of the offensive dynamites have been stuck in Russia. Shemanova and Markova were both were consistently in the starting five and helped the Orange tremendously this past fall. Shemanova, a 6’0 junior, led her team in kills at the midway point of the season with 90 and Markova led the team in blocks with 26. 

Another reason that kept the Orange from staying consistent this season was the big bad CoronaVirus that canceled three of their games this spring. Syracuse had some momentum going after an exciting win over Clemson on March 7. The next weekend, they were set to go against Miami and Virginia. However, Syracuse sat out their weekend games after a positive COVID-19 test within the Clemson program. Both games were also very much winnable games so, in the long run, it hurt the Orange in their overall record. 

Despite all of these negatives, there was one positive, consistent player for the Orange – Lauren Hogan. The first freshman to ever start as a Libero under Leonid Yelin lived up to the hype. She finished the season with 280 digs and only 4 errors. Her 4.75 digs per set placed her as first in the ACC 8th in the country among freshmen. Throughout the season Hogan won ACC Freshman of the Week twice. She topped off her incredible season by being named to the ACC All-Freshman Team. There was no doubt that Hogan was the X-factor in many of Syracuse’s matches this season and really kept the Orange in their games.

Saying all of this, there is so much that this talented team can look forward to next season. Senior Ella Saada should be the only player that Syracuse will lose this offseason. Everyone else is expected to return – including both Polina Shemanova and Marina Markova. The Orange also have a lot of potential in younger players that took on higher roles in the spring such as Sophomores Abby Casiano, Viktoriia Lockhanchuk, and Izzy Plummer. They will also return setter Elena Karakasi who played the last few games of this year with a broken finger. And of course, they will have back their elite Libero – Lauren Hogan who will only continue to get better and better. With this lineup, this Syracuse team is one that could surprise a few people come the Fall of 2021.

naluttre@syr.edu | @nickluttie