No. 5 Syracuse Drops First Game of the Season to No. 6 Notre Dame in Four Sets
By Leo Silverman
CitrusTV Volleyball Beat Reporter
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Earlier in the week, Syracuse (2-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) was ranked No. 5 in the nation by the AVCA coaches poll after its sweep of the Pittsburgh Panthers the weekend before. SU’s next match? Two games on the road at the freshly ranked No. 6 Notre Dame (2-0, 2-0 ACC).
Notre Dame came into today’s match 1-0 after beating Louisville behind some new faces. In the offseason the Fighting Irish landed three top-50 prospects, giving them the tenth-ranked recruiting class of the 2020 offseason.
The opening set saw each side take turns going on three point runs, until Notre Dame began pulling away up 7-11 forcing Syracuse Head Coach Leonid Yelin into his first time out. The Orange weren’t out of the opening set, but were struggling offensively. Junior Outside Hitter Polina Shermanova already had three attacking errors at that point. Syracuse would battle back though, taking the lead late in the set 16-15 behind the third kill from Shermanova. Syracuse would quickly collapse behind two more attacking errors and a Notre Dame service ace to lose set one, 20-25.
Heading into the second set, SU’s attacking struggles from the opening set only got worse. Syracuse never led during the set, and were even down 8-20 at one point. The set saw Junior Outside Hitter Charley Niego tally seven kills. Syracuse set a new season high in attacking errors in a singler set with nine. On top of that, SU had three service errors in the set to give the Fighting Irish 12 points.
The third set however, saw the Syracuse team from last weekend come out from the shadows. The Orange only had 4 attacking errors the entire set, and saw six different members of the team register kills in the set. In fact, 18 of SU’s points in the set came off of kills. Syracuse took an early lead up 4-3 and never took their foot off the gas. Cuse avoided the straight-set loss, winning set three 25-20.
The fourth set was the most competitive set of the night. Early on nobody could pull away, with seven ties inside the first fourteen points. Then, Notre Dame’s star Outside Hitters Charley Niego and Caroline Meuth rattled off five kills to balloon the Fighting Irish lead to five, 13-8. The Orange were not able to overcome the deficit, always five or four points behind the Fighting Irish for the rest of the set. Syracuse would lose set four 21-25, ending the match. The star outside hitting duo of Niego and Meuth combined for more than half the kills in Notre Dame’s 3-1 win over Syracuse.
Syracuse faces Notre Dame for game two of their double-header tomorrow night at six.
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