Volleyball

An unorthodox approach helps Colgate dance past Syracuse, 3-0

Ally Moreo | Photo Editor

The Orange, pictured here from 2016, faced an unusual approach from Colgate on Friday night.

After every point, the Colgate bench stood and danced, moves like the “Macarena” and the “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” Unfortunately for Syracuse, the Raider bench was dancing a lot.

Colgate (3-0) swept the Orange (2-2), 26-24, 28-26 and 25-21 in the Women’s Building on Saturday night.

The Raiders unabashedly employed new tactics on or off the court. At multiple times during the match, the Colgate bench counted the pre-serve dribbles of the Orange, shouting the numbers before letting out a shriek when the ball was served.

Then, late in the third set during a Raiders run, the Colgate fans and bench began chanting “Let’s go Raiders!” in unison. The chant continued until Syracuse called a timeout, but by that time, it was too late.

What was once a 12-7 Orange lead had turned into a 17-15 deficit, and the Colgate support was rocking the building.

“In the beginning, I was like, what’s going on?” said Ella Saada, a recipient of a handful of the service chants. “I was like, ‘OK. You have to put the serve over the net.’” She poked her index fingers to her temples. “It doesn’t matter what they are saying.”

Saada’s performance backed up her thoughts. The Israel native led the Orange with a game-high 16 kills, double the next highest total for Syracuse. Saada also led the team in blocks, and every time the Raiders counted her dribbles or the sea of red chanted during a serve, the Orange won the point.

SU head coach Leonid Yelin thought that the Raiders played similarly to Grand Canyon, which defeated the Orange lost on Friday. But Colgate was even more impressive, Yelin said, and has been the best team in this weekend’s tournament.

“The ball control Colgate has is even better (than Grand Canyon),” he said.

Yelin explained that what impressed him most was, “the ball control, and how they were clicking together as a team.”

The Raiders clicked on the court and off the court, and it was too much for the Orange.

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