Volleyball

Unforced errors, miscommunication doom Syracuse in first loss

Sabrina Koenig | Staff Photographer

The Orange, pictured here from 2016, trailed Grand Canyon in hitting percentage, 23.9 to 17.5.

Syracuse found itself in the middle of another marathon point. Ella Saada rose up off a feed from Jalissa Trotter and spiked it down in the middle of Grand Canyon’s formation. On the next point, Saada, a freshman, earned one of the Orange’s five service aces in the game. The ace tied the game at 20 and prompted the Lopes to call timeout.

The teams traded points until it was 23-22 Syracuse, when, this time, its serve let it down. A service error tied the set at 23, and on the ensuing serve, the Orange watched a potential ace land on the out-of-bounds line. Grand Canyon won the set on the next point, and Syracuse fell behind two sets to one.

The Orange (1-1) struggled with unforced errors and communication throughout the match. After splitting the first two sets and dropping the third, Syracuse lost the fourth set and the match to Grand Canyon (1-0) at the Women’s Building on Friday evening.

“We (had) a lot of unforced mistakes,” said head coach Leonid Yelin. “(Grand Canyon) could stay so much in the system they were running, and we were just trying to execute by ourselves.”

The Orange had 24 attack errors on the game, eight more than it committed earlier today in its season-opening win against Siena. Syracuse was beat in hitting percentage as well, 17.5 to the Lopes’ 23.9.

Numerous times during the game, the Orange’s communication difficulties led to attacks and serves by Grand Canyon falling in between SU players. These missed opportunities, said Santita Ebangwese, also cut Syracuse’s momentum on runs.

“The only thing that really killed momentum were unforced errors,” she said, “a mis-serve, a mis-hit, something like that.”

Ebangwese, whose 13 kills were tied for the team lead, committed just one error of her own.

At one point in the third set, after a run of errors and a failed dig, senior Belle Sand punched the ball away in annoyance. For Sand, Syracuse’s mistakes need to be shored up during practice.

“We have to treat practices like games,” Sand said.

The Orange will not practice before its next game, however, as tomorrow Syracuse will play its third and fourth games of the year.

“Our goal was to win all four matches here,” said Yelin. “I hope (the losses) was because we just started.”

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