Syracuse Volleyball Continues to Struggle and it Only Gets Harder

Wednesday, Oct 18, 2023 at 4:57 pm by Sports Editor

By: Rahill Jaiswal | @RahillJaiswal

Syracuse volleyball dropped both of this past weekend’s contests to Duke and North Carolina. SU finishes their two-week homestand at 0-4 with one set won. With the Orange sitting at 2-16 and 0-8 in ACC play, it might be time to start looking forward to next year.

After the team’s straight-set loss to Duke, head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said that the process is a long-term project. It’s not an issue that can be simply solved in one year.

Throughout the season, Syracuse has struggled with a lack of depth caused by injuries and unfortunately, it doesn’t get any better. Coach Ganesharatnam said that Ariana Joubert is most likely done for the season. Joubert has struggled with injuries all season, only playing five complete matches this year. In those matches, Joubert was fantastic. The Sophomore tallied 26 kills over two matches when first returning earlier this season.  

The loss of Joubert has been huge for Syracuse. She was one of SU’s true outside hitters. With her out of the lineup, Cherlin Antonio has been under extreme amounts of pressure to produce. Without Joubert, teams can start to try and make a consistent effort to take Antonio out of matches. She has been forced to carry the load offensively for most of the season while also helping set up her teammates. This not only leads to her playing more aggressively, but it also can lead to fatigue. 

Syracuse has also had to play without middle blocker Leyla Smith for most of the year. The junior finally made her return from injury last weekend against Wake Forest. Smith has been great in her return but is still not at her best which is understandable. SU hopes that she can continue to make her way back and provide some much-needed help. SU ranks bottom of the ACC in almost every stat category.

Another thing that SU has struggled with all season is managing scoring runs. According to coach Ganesharatnam, managing runs is the most important thing in Volleyball. With that being said, Syracuse has not done that all season. There have been multiple times where SU will go on a 4 or 5-0 scoring run. However, from there they will give up a 7 or 8-0 run which completely cancels out their run. A prime example of this was last weekend against UNC. Syracuse got up 22-18 in the second set but immediately gave up a 7-0 run to lose the set. 

Another unfortunate thing for Syracuse is the schedule continues to get tougher and tougher. The Orange still have to play number 11 Georgia Tech twice, number 8 Pittsburgh, as well as a very good Miami team. With the current schedule, SU is on pace to finish a program worst 3-24 this season.   

Now, there have been some positives. Syracuse has found some very good all-around production from Zharia-Harris-Waddy. The freshman has turned herself into a Swiss army knife, helping in a phase of the game whether it be serving, attacking, or defense.