Syracuse Volleyball Season Preview

Thursday, Aug 24, 2023 at 1:29 pm by Sports Editor

By: Rahill Jaiswal

After nearly 10 months of waiting, Syracuse Volleyball is back. The Orange open their season on Friday with games against Navy at 11am and Albany at 7pm in the Albany Tournament. This will be the second season for head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam.

Last season SU finished 11-17 with a 7-11 record in ACC play. The main issues that plagued Syracuse last year were its small roster, lack of experience, and lack of time together. 

Some of those concerns could present themselves this year. SU only has 13 players – which is almost 4 players less than the average D1 programs. This lack of size could affect Syracuse in longer matches against some of the top programs that can rotate and substitute multiple different players. Another issue that could reappear is the lack of experience. SU only has 4 returning players this season, 2 of them being starters.

Not to mention the Orange’s difficult schedule. Syracuse will face eight teams that made the NCAA tournament last year. Those include top teams like No. 4 Louisville and No. 6 Pittsburgh.

Despite those concerns, there are multiple positives with this new team. Last year Syracuse finalized their roster so late in the offseason. Coach Ganesharatnam only had two months to recruit and restructure the team. In fact, just under half of Syracuse’s roster didn’t join the team until early August. This meant that SU only had 3 weeks to practice together before the season. This year, The Cuse finalized its roster back in May giving them time to develop chemistry.

Another positive is the exciting young talent Ganesharatnam has managed to bring in.  Two key players that ‘Cuse fans should keep an eye on are Zharia Harris-Waddy and Sydie Walker.

Harris-Waddy attended Paul VI High School in New Jersey where she won three consecutive sectional titles from 2020-2022. During that time she also won the State Championship and was a Three-time First-Team All-Conference member. In 2021 and 2022 she was First-Team All-State. In 2022 she was named conference player of the year.  

Waller attended Centennial High School where she was a two-time All-District First team selection in 2021 and 2022. In her senior year, Waller recorded over 300 kills and was named team MVP back-to-back years.

One of the Veterans Syracuse hopes to lean on this year is Alysaa Bert. The Graduate student was the starting Libero in every set last season. Bert recorded over 320 digs last season while also being third on the team in service aces, and set assists.

With new exciting talent and more time to develop chemistry, the Orange hope to build off the positives of last year.