Syracuse Volleyball Struggling Early in the Season

Wednesday, Sep 06, 2023 at 12:44 pm by Sports Editor

By Rahill Jaiswal | @RahillJaiswal

We are almost a month into the 2023 season and Syracuse Volleyball is still in search of its first win. The Orange sit at 0-6 and 0-18 in sets played after going 0-3 in both the UAlbany and the Kathy DeBore invitational tournament.

Syracuse is definitely improving but are running into some of the issues that are very similar to last year. One of the problems this season has been the slow starts. In most of the matches this year Syracuse has fallen behind an early four to five points. That might not seem like much for most schools but it’s a big deal for Syracuse. Similar to last year, the Orange have a very small roster compared to other Division 1 programs. This makes it tough for the SU to generate the energy to not only comeback, but finish sets strong. Multiple times this season, Syracuse has made a push in the middle of sets to get back to level. However, because of the small roster, SU doesn’t have any energy to finish the sets off. The few times Syracuse has started well, it has been on the verge of winning sets. They had two set points against Michigan State and were tied at 20 against Belmont in the first two sets. The exhaustion and fatigue can also lead to an increase in unforced errors which have plagued CUSE so far. Not to mention, Su has been forced to play lots of players out of position. 

Another issue for Syracuse has been the lack of experience. Entering this season the Orange only had four returning players. Of those four only two of them were starters. Now, while bringing in young talent is exciting, it is tough to generate great team chemistry and flow right off the bat. It is going to take time. During both tournaments, Syracuse found it tough to generate consistent attacking flow while serving. In four of SU’s six matches, it has been held to 30% or lower in kill percentage.   

Now, with all that being said there are some positive signs. The Orange are getting better with each match. During the Kathy DeBore invitational tournament, Syracuse played a solid third set against Michigan State before immediately following that up the next day with a very competitive match against Belmont. A big reason for this improvement has been the play of Alyssa Bert. The graduate was named to the Kathy DeBore all-tournament team. Bert managed to average just over 12 digs a game while also leading the team in service aces. She has also begun to emerge as the captain and leading voice in the locker room. SU has also gotten great production from Zharia Harris-Waddy. The Freshman was named to the UAlbany Invitational all-tournament team. Harris-Waddy led the team in kills in all three games of the tournament.   

The Orange will still have some time before their home opener on September 15th. SU will travel to take on Cornell on September 6th and Colgate on September 12th.