Syracuse Picks Up Biggest Win of the Season, Tops No. 22 Louisville
By Justin Paura
CitrusTV Volleyball Reporter
LOUISVILLE, K.Y.—Coming off the heels of a brutal three-set-loss to Notre Dame Friday night, Syracuse (13-7, 9-3 Atlantic Coast) bounced back, earning the Orange’s first ranked win of the season, defeating No. 22 Louisville (17-6, 10-2) 3-2 on the road.
Sophomore Ella Saada matched her second-best hitting performance of the season with 14 kills, also adding 11 digs from the back row. Freshman Polina Shemanova led the team in kills with 19 as Syracuse out-hit the Cardinals and took advantage of 16 Louisville service errors.
The Orange hung around in each set this match. The first set was knotted up 16-16 behind three kills from senior Santita Ebangwese. Things started to fall into the Cardinals’ favor after that when Shemanova committed a service error to give the Cardinals possession and the lead. They then put up two more points and did not trail by more than two for the rest of the set to come out with the 25-21 victory. SU hit their best percentage of the match at 41 percent, but Louisville was just a bit better with a 47 percent clip as the Orange failed to earn a block.
Not letting the early loss faze them, Syracuse came out aggressive in the second. They jumped out to a quick 9-6 advantage, but Louisville retaliated with a 3-0 run to tie things up. The tie was brief as the Orange took the lead immediately after a did not look back. They take the set 25-18 by outhitting the Cardinals by 19 percent while only totaling four errors.
Louisville responded in the third set with dominance in the serving department. They tallied up five aces with just three errors while SU missed seven serves without picking up an ace. Syracuse hit an ugly 17 percent and the Cardinals came out with a the biggest win of the match, 25-17.
In this match of back-and-forth, the Orange answered with a 25-18 win in the fourth. Saada smacked her third and fourth kills of the set consecutively to give her squad a 17-11 advantage. After that, Louisville failed to get back-to-back points until their final two points of the set, but it proved not to matter as the match went to a winner-take-all fifth set.
The Cardinals started the fifth on a 4-1 run, forcing head coach Leonid Yelin to call a timeout. Out of the stoppage, Shemanova sparked SU’s momentum with a kill that led to a 4-0 Syracuse run. Louisville would retake the lead 9-7 and Yelin uses his final timeout, inspiring his team to finish the match strong. His star freshman got her 18th kill to tie the match up at 11 apiece, then seniors Christina Oyawale and Ebwangwese came together for a big block to give the Orange the lead. Shemanova would get one more kill and Louisville’s 16th service error was the point that lost them the game as Syracuse escapes with the 15-13 win.
The Orange are now 1-4 on the season, 1-1 in the ACC, in matches against ranked opponents this season. For the first time this year, they play on a weekday for their next match. Syracuse hosts Boston College Halloween night in the first of two matches against the Eagles.
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