Syracuse Can’t Complete the Comeback and Fall in Five Sets to Virginia Tech
BLACKSBURG, V.A. — On Sunday afternoon, Virginia Tech (6-7, 5-7) defeated Syracuse (5-7, 5-7) in five sets (25-23, 20-25, 19-25, 26-24, 15-11).
The first set was anything but pretty as both teams combined for 8 errors. While the defensive effort was sloppy, the offense for Syracuse was smooth as they boasted a .294 hitting percentage. Ella Saada and Abby Casiano were finding the holes in the Hokies defense and exposing them during key moments throughout the set.
After being tied at 23, Saada gave her team the one-point advantage with a kill, and the very next point, Casiano rose to reject Virginia Tech’s hitting attempt to help SU win the first set 25-23.
The second set was a much cleaner one as both teams finally settled into the game. One thing that was similar to the first set was how back and forth it was. But unlike the first set, after being tied at 18, Virginia Tech pulled away and finished the set on a 7-2 run to win the second set 25-20 and even the series at 1-1.
To begin the third, Virginia Tech started on a 6-0 run and had all the momentum behind them. Even when Syracuse eyed for a comeback and produced a 5-0 run of their own, it wasn’t enough to overcome the early deficit. The Hokies won the third set 25-19 and increased the series lead to 2-1.
The Orange woke up a little bit in the fourth set and maintained a 5-2 lead. But after a Hokies run of their own midway through the set, Virginia Tech took a commanding 24-21 lead and looked to be on their way to winning the match.
But something clicked for Syracuse at that moment. Normally, coaches would call a timeout in that situation, but Coach Yelin decided just to let his players play. And play they did, scoring five in a row to steal the fourth set and send it to a fifth set grand finale.
All the momentum was on SU’s side but it was another poor start as Virginia Tech scored 4 in a row to begin the fifth. Especially with a shortened last set (the fight set in volleyball only goes to 15 points), this made it even more difficult for the Orange to comeback. And it seems like it’s a repetitive story but the Hokies played well down the stretch and finished the game on a 6-1 run to take the set 15-9 and win the match 3-2.
While in the first set, Syracuse had a .294 hitting percentage, they went the wrong direction the rest of the match, especially in the last set when they had a -.043 hitting percentage. Viktoriia Lokhmanchuk led the Orange with 14 kills which on paper seems good but she also accounted for 11 of Syracuse’s 27 errors.
After a disappointing weekend on the road, Syracuse will be back in the arena they play the best in, the Women’s Building, on Friday, March 26 (vs. Wake Forest) and Sunday, March 28 (vs. Duke). The Friday game will begin at 4 pm and Sunday’s game will be at 1 pm. You can watch those games live on ACCNX or follow @nickluttie for live updates.
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