Syracuse Volleyball Season Recap: What Went Wrong?

Wednesday, Nov 29, 2023 at 2:39 pm by Sports Editor

By Rahill Jaiswal | @RahillJaiswal

The 2023 season has come to an end for Syracuse Volleyball. The Orange finished the year 2-26 and 0-18 in ACC play. This marks the worst season in program history for Syracuse Volleyball. SU’s two wins came against Cornell and Morgan State.

The story of the 2023 season for Syracuse was injuries. Players like Sydnie Waller, Ariana Joubert, Cherlin Antonio, Rainia Hughes, and Klara Zarnovicka missed significant time this year. Coming into the season, Syracuse was already short on depth. Compounding that with the injuries, SU only had a roster of eight players by the end of the season. For context, the average DI program has double the amount of players. Not only did these injuries lead to a lack of depth, it forced players to play out of position. Two prime examples of this were Greta Schlichter and Veronica Sierzant. Schlichter’s natural position is Libero, but she was forced to play as an outside hitter. Sierzant is a natural setter, but she was also forced to play outside hitter for SU. 

The lack of depth also leads to fatigue. Every time Syracuse made a push in a set, it would run out of gas. SU did not have the option to take out a player if it was struggling or tired. This was still going to be a problem if Syracuse was fully healthy, but head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam would have definitely had more options.   

Syracuse also had a very tough schedule this year. The Orange had two matches against Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh who are both seeded in the upcoming NCAA tournament. SU also had to travel to Miami which will also be taking part in the tournament. 

Now there are some positives to take away from the year. The first is that this is a very young and talented team. SU has the right pieces, it just never got the chance to consistently show them this season. Due to many injuries, lots of freshmen get consistent playing time which can speed up their development. Players like Zharia-Harris-Waddy were able to establish themselves as further leaders of this program. Coach Ganesharatnam preached the whole season that SU is still a program that is trying to build itself up. It’s a long-term process for the Orange. 

So with all that being said, what can we expect from Syracuse next season? To start, we can certainly expect an improvement. This team gained valuable experience this season and learned a lot about what it takes to play in the ACC. You can expect Syracuse to try and get more recruits. The Orange hope to add depth, particularly at the outside hitter position. While Greta Schlichter did a great job transitioning to offense, SU needs her back at libero. Especially with graduate student Alyssa Bert set to leave Syracuse. If SU can stay healthy and add some more depth this offseason, is can turn itself into a solid program. This can be a team that has the talent to compete with the Dukes, North Carolinas, and Boston Colleges of the world.