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With a 9-2 lead in the second set, Syracuse was dominating Boston College, already outscoring it by 20 points on the match.
After a successful return from the Orange, the Eagles sent a powerful strike back to the Orange baseline. Outside hitter Polina Shemanova, who just had an attack error in the previous point, made up for her offensive mistake with a diving dig.
Boston College sent another hit back on its next possession, but middle blocker Marina Markova met the ball at the net deflecting it upwards just enough so she could send a strike back. Two Eagles’ defenders dived for the ball yet neither were able to get to it.
Markova turned around and laughed, as Boston College did everything it could offensively, but Syracuse still won the point.
In its final home game of the season, Syracuse (4-4, 4-4 Atlantic Coast) won for the second consecutive game in straight sets against Boston College (0-6, 0-6). The Orange overshadowed the Eagles’ defensively with 42 digs and 8 blocks.
Head coach Leonid Yelin said that the team made changes defensively in order to combat Boston College’s offense in both matchups, which is “one of the fastest in the ACC”. Yelin said that the team utilized unorthodox techniques by going up at the same time as the opposing hitter, instead of when the opposing setter would set the ball.
“It’s almost against everything we were teaching, jumping after the setter,” Yelin said. “Sometimes one of their hitters was so quick getting off the floor that we had to jump a little bit sooner just to make sure that we were there at the right time”.
In last night’s matchup, Syracuse had two more blocks than tonight, but Yelin said that apart from the timing of its blocks, the team also made adjustments in its blocking setup compared to the previous game. Last night the Orange focused on blocking in the middle, but tonight the team started with the left helping the middle and eventually focusing more on the right.
Syracuse’s worst play came in the third set, as Boston College was able to secure its only lead of the night with a 2-1 lead after a kill and block from middle hitter Amaka Chukwujekwu. However, in crucial points during the set, the Orange were able to get key blocks with their new approach, like from Markova, who led the team with four blocks on the night.
With a 4-3 lead in the set, SU had a successful service return and Eagles’ outside hitter Silvia Ianeselli sent a strike back to the Orange defense. Syracuse was perfectly set up on the right side with Markova and outside hitter Yuliia Yastrub prepared for the strike. Markova and Yastrub combined and the block landed on Boston College’s side, untouched.
Along with its dominance in blocking, Syracuse also showed improvement defensively with its first touch on serve returns and on points when Boston College was able to get past the Orange’s first line of defense.
Freshman libero Lauren Hogan, who is the main service returner for Syracuse, struggled returning serves in last weekend’s series against Louisville. She was unable to get the ball up high enough to provide setter Elena Karakasi with the ability to make quality sets. Hogan’s shortcomings combined with bad first touches from other players on SU’s defense, meant the Orange had a season-high of 31 errors in its Oct. 9 match against the Cardinals.
Yet tonight Syracuse had no problem with its first touch on serve return and off quick hits from Boston College. Hogan, who leads the ACC with 139 digs, returned to form with a team high 15 digs in the match.
In the third set, Boston College went on a 3-0 run and tied the game at 8-8, seeming to finally get some momentum and earn just its second lead of the night. But Hogan patiently waited in the back left corner of the court and the Eagles’ sent a strike her way.
Hogan lunged forward and perfectly dug the ball to Karakasi, who set up Shemanova for a spike from the back row. Shemanova was unable to get the kill, but her strike was so powerful that the Eagles’ dig went directly to outside hitter Ella Saada who patted the ball down and gave Syracuse the lead.
With its defensive momentum from Hogan, the Orange never gave the Eagles’ another lead and won the set 25-20.
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