Volleyball Set to Host Syracuse Tournament

Wednesday, Sep 07, 2022 at 6:03 pm by Sports Editor

By: Ryan Bridges | @RyanBridges517

Citrus TV Volleyball Beat Reporter


Syracuse is set to host the Syracuse Tournament on Thursday. The tournament will feature Yale, Army, and Hofstra along with SU. 

This will be the Orange’s first time playing at home this season after going on the road to play in two similar tournaments. 

The first tournament Syracuse played in was the Charlotte Invitational. SU picked up two impressive wins against Campbell and Wofford, then fell to an experienced Charlotte team in straight sets.

“All three teams are very good teams… all three teams have been put together over multiple years,” said Coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam after the tournament. “We wanted to get a good assessment about where we are as a team,” Ganesharatnam continued. 

Coach Ganesharatnam brings up an important point when it comes to the Orange. They are a very new team. Syracuse returned just six players from last year’s roster, and out of those six players, only one of those players was a starter last year (Polina Shemanova). Not to mention, the rest of SU’s roster is rounded out by five transfers all coming from very different programs. This new group has barely had time to gel yet. 

The Orange had a short break back in Syracuse before having to fly down to Orlando to play in the UCF Challenge. In the first two games, SU took on Kansas State and UCF, two teams with very realistic chances of earning tournament bids. Much like playing against Charlotte, Syracuse did not have the experience and continuity to keep up with Kansas State or UCF. SU hung in there and competed, but lost by a combined score of 6-1 through both games. 

Looking ahead, the Orange’s first game of the Syracuse Challenge is against Army. The Black Knights are just 2-5 to start the year.

However, Coach Ganesharatnam is not underestimating the opponent at all saying they are “expecting a tough match to start off the tournament.”

Army’s Head Coach, Alma Kovaci Lee, actually played under Ganesharatnam when he was the coach at Temple.

“We have some history and are very good friends,” Ganesharatnam said to the media on Wednesday. 

Syracuse will then play Hofstra Friday morning as the first part of a doubleheader. Hofstra is also walking in with a 2-5 record but is playing a game Wednesday evening before the Syracuse Tournament. Despite the record, the Pride did give a 5-1 Seton Hall team their only loss of the season, so they’re certainly capable of pulling off the upset. 

SU will get a few hours before they have to turn their attention to Yale. On paper, it looks as though this will be the toughest matchup out of all three games the Orange will play. Yale finished third in Ivy League play and handed Brown its only loss in conference play. However, Syracuse did beat Yale last season in straight sets in the Yale Invitational. Yale also has a game against Army at 2 P.M. before taking the court with the Orange at 7:30 P.M. This is a rapid turnaround, and tough for any team to endure. 

Head Coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam is also very adamant about packing the stands for all of these games.

When asked if he was excited to have fans show up to games, he said, “I’m super excited, it makes a huge difference… we are going to do our part, we are going to compete hard.” 

SU has faced some tough environments so far this season, playing UCF and Charlotte in their home gyms. Now, this is the time for the Orange to return the favor to the visiting teams.

Syracuse will kick off the tournament on Thursday in a matchup against Army at 5 P.M. Then, they will take on Hofstra on Friday at 11 A.M. and finish with Yale at 7:30 P.M. Each team participating in the tournament will play each other across the weekend as well. All tournament games will be streamed live on ACC Network Extra.