Shemanova Leads Syracuse to a Five-Set Win with a Historic Performance
By Brad Klein
CitrusTV Women’s Volleyball Beat Reporter
SYRACUSE, NY – Even with major injuries derailing Syracuse’s 2019 rebuild, the Orange have shown glimpses of greatness. The four-set win against Notre Dame to start the weekend showed the ACC that SU can run with the best of the conference, but Head Coach Leonid Yelin had one remaining question: Could they do it again?
Syracuse (8-11, 5-7 Atlantic Coast) answered that question with a five-set win against Louisville (15-7, 8-4 Atlantic Coast), the second-best team in the conference.
“Is it just one good night? Or we can capable to come back and play again second match against… I think Louisville even stronger team than they [Notre Dame] are,” Yelin said. “So it was a good question, but I think we answered. We came to play.”
Polina Shemanova especially came to play. The outside hitter notched a single game school record 36 kills. The sophomore, however, takes her historic performance with a grain of salt.
“I’m happy. I did all I can today and it worked well, not with the serve, but I had 36 kills. That’s good,” Shemanova said.
Shemanova had a career worst five service errors, but that may be understandable. The outside hitter was called upon a season-high 78 times on attack attempts.
With the injury to freshman outside hitter Marina Markova, SU does not have much of a choice but to feed the hot-hand, and really can not afford to give her much of a break.
This just builds on an already decorated career. The St. Petersburgh native was crowned ACC freshman of the year last season. In her second year, she already has nine double doubles, including one on Sunday against Louisville when she scooped up 17 digs. Senior defensive specialist Aliah Bowllan is not surprised with Shemanova’s early success.
“I think even freshman year when she came in, we knew something was really special with Polina. We’re really lucky to have her. I don’t think any one can ever ask for anything more.”
The Orange lost the first set 25-23 despite nine kills by Shemanova. While sophomore setter Elena Karakasi had 14 assists, she did not have the same impact on the game that Syracuse is used to seeing. Yelin pulled her aside during the break.
“When we are talking to the player and express maybe not too much happy about some situations. We see room to improve, and we know she’s capable of doing this. She knows this is not acceptable. She knows that she can do this, and she’s ready to do this, and she has to do this.”
After the conversation, Karakasi set the table for Shemanova’s career day. In turn, Karakasi lofted up a career high 54 assists, including 17 in the second set win. The Orange narrowly took that frame 28-26.
Louisville and Syracuse split the next two to send it to the final set, and SU shined. The Orange did not commit a single error. They won eight of the first ten points and never looked back en route to a 15-6 statement set.
Syracuse faces another tough ACC opponent on Wednesday when they visit Boston College on Chestnut Hill at 5 p.m.
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