Syracuse Cruises to Third Straight ACC Victory
By Justin Paura
CitrusTV Volleyball Reporter
BLACKSBURG, VA—Following Wednesday’s home victory over Boston College, head coach Leonid Yelin admitted he was worried about this weekend’s schedule for his team. However, the seventh-year leader also said how great it would be if his team was able to get past this stretch. It’s safe to say Yelin is thrilled at Friday night’s result as the Orange (15-7, 11-3 Atlantic Coast) went to Blacksburg two days later and defeated Virginia Tech (13-12, 4-9).
Syracuse dominated nearly every aspect of this match, most notably by doing what they do best. The best blocking team in the ACC posted a season-high 19 blocks while only being blocked once by the Hokies. Senior Amber Witherspoon led the charge with 14 blocks, her best defensive performance of the year, while also slamming 10 kills. Outside of winning the battle at the net, SU out-hit Virginia Tech 32.1 percent to 7 percent and committed 29 less errors.
One big sigh of relief for Syracuse fans came right out the gates. Freshman Polina Shemanova got the start for the Orange and played the entire game after exiting Wednesday’s match in the second set with a leg injury. She got back to the top of the SU leaderboard in kills with 13 Friday along with 12 digs.
Things got going early in the first set. Syracuse fell behind 4-2 before going on a 6-0 run to take a lead they wouldn’t give back up. Witherspoon shined with four kills and five blocks to halt the Hokies attack that hit a horrid -6.1 percent.
The second set painted a scene for what could have been a closely contested match. VT racked up 20 kills, hit their best percentage of the match (28.9 percent) and outlasted the Orange for the 25-23 victory.
In the third set however, that narrative was disproven as Syracuse solidified themselves as the better side. They forced eight Hokies errors while only having three of their own in a 25-20 win.
Virginia Tech played the fourth set like they already lost the match. They hit an embarrassing -12.5 percent and allowed Syracuse to hit 60.9 percent without committing an error in route to a 25-10 Orange win to seize the match, 3-1.
SU is now riding a three-game win streak and are winners of five of their last six matches. That streak will not be tested until next Sunday when they hit the road once again, this time to visit Georgia Tech.
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