Breaking Down Syracuse Offensive Struggles
By Rahill Jaiswal | @RahillJaiswal
As the month of September winds down, 2-10 Syracuse Volleyball is in the middle of a gauntlet ACC schedule. The Orange are coming off straight-set losses on the road to number 5 Louisville and Notre Dame. With harder opponents on the way, what can SU do to try and flip the script?
Throughout the season it’s clear that Cherlin Antonio has become the main producer on offense for Syracuse. The sophomore recorded a career-high 19 kills in the loss to Notre Dame. Despite Syracuse’s offense struggling Antonio has managed to average double-digit kills and points over the last six matches. The transfer also ranks top ten in kills and total points in the ACC. Antonio has managed to average 3.64 kills and 3.94 points per set. What’s even more impressive is that she has managed to keep up with the top players despite missing two matches. The transfer has only played 25 sets compared to most others who have played around 40 sets.
Despite Antonio’s great production, one question still needs answering. Who is going to become that consistent number two on offense? The sophomore has carried the offense at times this year and is under extreme pressure to produce. This dependence on one player makes it easier for opponents to stuff Antonio and Syracuse’s offense. A game we can look at in particular is against Louisville. The Cardinals were able to focus all of their attention on Antonio and hold her to a kill percentage of 2.9.
Now, there are a few players that can give Syracuse good offensive production. One in particular is Ariana Joubert. The sophomore is still working here way back from an early season injury but can be extremely dangerous when healthy. Joubert posted 26 kills combined in her first two matches back but has seen a little drop since then. The Chicago native has only played three sets over the last two matches. Syracuse hopes that she can stay healthy because she is really a game-changer when she is on the court. Not only does she take some of the pressure off Antonio but she is more than capable of taking over a match. She was one of the driving forces on offense against Morgan State and carried them to the finish line in the first set.
Another main issue for Syracuse this season has been the abundance of attacking errors. Throughout the season, SU has nearly double the amount of attacking errors than its opponents. While the Orange have gotten better at limiting the errors throughout the season, it is still a concern. Due to Syracuse’s difficult opponents, every mistake is magnified. CUSE can’t afford to miss serves or have miscommunication against teams like Louisville or Notre Dame. If Syracuse can play a little cleaner they can compete against some of these bigger teams.
Unfortunately for SU, the schedule does not get any easier. The Orange will travel to take on 7-5 Virginia before heading to Fitzgerald Field House to take on number 8 Pitt.