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Saturday, Oct 05, 2019 at 1:18 am

Service Errors Spoil Syracuse’s Home Opener in 3-1 Loss to Wake Forest

By Brad Klein

CitrusTV Volleyball Beat Reporter

The Syracuse Volleyball team was excited to play in the Women’s Building for the first time this season on Friday. The Orange had their highs and lows on the nine-match road trip to start the year, even losing three players due to injury. But, S-U returned to face a tough ACC opponent, and Wake Forest (11-3, 1-2 Atlantic Coast) handled Syracuse (4-6, 1-2 ACC) 3-1.

Wake Forest had the advantage from the jump. Defensive Specialists Aliah Bowllan and Berkley Hayes were inactive with apparent injuries, so SU head coach Leonid Yelin looked to outside hitter Kendra Lukacs to fill the void as the libero in her season debut. The senior is not fully recovered from her shoulder injury, so her primary position was more or less out of the equation. Yelin was extremely impressed with her performance.

“I didn’t expect that she would play at this level because not playing for so long, not practicing,” Yelin said. “She’s a very good ball control player, good passer, good defender.”

Lukacs was a game-time decision but piled up ten digs. Ella Saada also had a big performance, tying her career high in kills with 21. However, neither of these efforts were enough to overcome the free points Syracuse gave up with 15 service errors. Yelin thinks it’s up to the players to make mental adjustments in order to cut down on the free points.

“Everybody doesn’t want to make a mistake. But it’s one thing if you don’t want to make a mistake and if you’re afraid to make a mistake,” Yelin said.

Kendra Lukacs believes the server isn’t alone on the back line, but rather all players have to support one another in order to cut down on the service errors.

“A lot of it is knowing that we have each others backs, and knowing that we’re there for each other,” Lukacs said. “I think sometimes in the heat of a game you can sometimes lose track of that or get nervous. Coming together as a team and just coming together as a team and knowing that we fully support one another can help eliminate those kind of errors.”

Reigning ACC Freshman of the Year Polina Shemanova was no exception to the service stripe struggles. The Russian missed on three serves. Freshman Marina Markova and junior Yuliia Yastrub each committed a team-high four service errors. This is the third time the Orange have made 15 or more service errors in a single match.

Besides service errors, the Orange committed 27 attacking errors, four blocking errors, and three ball handling errors. Syracuse looked primed to force a fifth set when they held a 24-21 lead in the third frame. The three biggest attack errors of those 27 contributed to the Demon Deacons’ 5-0 run that they needed to clinch the match and spoil the Orange’s home opener.

Syracuse looks to get back on track on Sunday when they host Duke at one o’clock. 

bwklein@syr.edu | @BradKlein15