Syracuse Falls in Straight-Sets in Game Two Against Notre Dame as the Offensive Struggles Continue

Saturday, Oct 03, 2020 at 8:36 pm by Sports Editor

By Leo Silverman

Citrus TV Volleyball Beat Reporter

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – On Friday, October 2nd, Syracuse (2-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost to Notre Dame (3-0, 3-0 ACC) in four sets, thanks mainly to the offensive struggles of the Orange’s outside hitters. The only difference tonight? Polina Shermanova looked great, but nobody on SU could help her.

Notre Dame got out to an early lead on every set in game one, but tonight set one saw Syracuse come out firing. SU held a commanding two-point lead early on, up 7-5 at one point thanks to two kills apiece for Sophomore Marina Markova and Junior Polina Shermanova. From there, it was neck and neck battle, with Notre Dame pulling out a late 15-17 lead behind a beautiful kill from Freshman Lindsey Miller. Miller went perfect on hits in the set with five kills. Syracuse was unable to get the offense going again, committing attacking errors on the last two points to give Notre Dame a commanding 18-25 win in set one.

Despite the lackluster finish to set one, the Orange came out firing in set two as if nothing had happened. SU went on a 5 point run to start the second set, capitalizing on two Fighting Irish attacking errors. Notre Dame would begin chipping at that five-point cushion, making it a two-point affair midway through the second set off a Carolina Meuth kill. That kill sparked a 5 point run from ND that gave them a commanding 14-17 lead. Meuth had three kills in that stretch, and Freshman Hattie Monson scored a service ace herself. Syracuse didn’t quit this time, taking two for every one Notre Dame point until everything was tied at 22. The two foes went blow for blow, with an error from Shermanova putting Notre Dame on match point, 23-24. The All-ACC outside hitter would make up for it, though, as she’d tie the game 24 all on her thirteenth kill of the match. Despite the heroics of Shermanova, Syracuse couldn’t get out of their own way, as the very next point was a service error from Sophomore Berkley Hayes. Notre Dame would close a crucial second set out the next point, 24-26.

Losing that second set seemed to have taken all the fight out of the Orange, as SU was dominated in set three. Notre Dame quickly went up 1-5 with three ND players recording kills. The Fighting Irish lead would only increase, as SU committed three attacking errors that would help put Notre Dame up 6-13. From there, the only time Syracuse could string points together came late, and was off back-to-back Notre Dame errors. Even then, the Orange still trailed by six, 14-20. Notre Dame would quickly close it out from there, thanks to three kills from Charley Niego during the seven-point stretch to win set three 16-25. After sweeping Pitt just a week ago, Syracuse was now swept by Notre Dame to go 0-2 on the weekend.

Once again, it was all Charlie Niego and Carolina Meuth for Notre Dame. Of the Fighting Irish’s 51 kills, the pair registered 32. For Syracuse, Polina Shermanova looked back to her old form with 15 kills of her own to lead the team. The struggles came from Senior Yuulia Yastrub, who only managed three kills. Syracuse, as a team, only hit .204 from the field.

Syracuse stays on the road next weekend. The ‘Cuse looks to bounce back from a disappointing weekend with a two games series against Louisville. Game one is set for Friday at seven. | @LeoSilverman