Volleyball takes down Georgia Tech in Straight Sets
By Zachary Levine
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The last time Georgia Tech faced Syracuse, it won in straight sets. Today, the tables were turned, as SU cruised to a 25-18, 27-25, 25-18 victory against the Yellow Jackets.
The Orange came into the contest hot, having lost only one ACC game. Sunday’s matchup was the latter half of a two-game home stand that also saw Clemson in town on Friday.
The Orange started hot early and never looked back. Anastasiya Gorelina and Ella Saada led the way with 16 kills each. Saada, the freshman from Israel, also had a career-high .371 hitting percentage.
“If it’s a hittable ball, I’m giving one-hundred percent power,” Saada said. “If not, I’m trying to be smart and put the ball in the right place.”
“As much as her shoulder allows,” head coach Leonid Yelin chimed in.
Saada was named ACC Freshman Volleyball Player of the Week last week.
“Before the game, I’m try to prepare for serving,” Saada said. “I think that’s the most important thing to get ready mentally.”
Once on the court, Saada was relaxed and focused in on the task at hand.
While the score may show a blowout in two of three sets, Georgia Tech applied the pressure for most of the game, not cracking until the middle of the third set, after a video challenge went Syracuse’s way.
Momentum was key to the SU victory, especially after winning a video challenge and having closes call go its way. Yelin said he is a proponent of the video challenge, which is available during televised games. Winning or losing one of those challenges can affect a team’s momentum.
“This game…it’s a game of momentum,” Yelin said. “It’s a huge difference if you [lead by] two points or you’re tied, especially at the end of the game.”
Early in the third set, the Orange won a highly-contested challenge that was reviewed twice. After emerging from the review victorious, the Orange delivered the knock-out blow to the Yellow Jackets as it pulled away towards victory.
“I’m glad the team is playing better and better,” Yelin said after the game. “My concern was can they play a couple of matches in a row and stay with the focus and the attitude to win, which we did today.”
Yelin also praised Georgia Tech, pointing out that it beat North Carolina and Michigan State.
The Orange are back on the road this Wednesday, as it faces Boston College in Chestnut Hill, MA. SU previously beat Boston College this season in four sets in its ACC opener. The Eagles are fresh off two straight wins, also against Georgia Tech and Clemson.