first_img Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 14, 2018 at 6:40 pm Contact Andrew: arcrane@syr.edu | @CraneAndrewcenter_img In between the fourth and the fifth set, while the four SU coaches stood talking at one end of the bench, Christina Oyawale was busy.The redshirt senior, who missed Friday’s match because of her grandmother’s death and did not play on Sunday, tried pumping up the team, to restore their belief in an SU victory that had vanished after the Orange blew a two-set lead. Dana Valelly and Ella Saada pumped their fists to “Titanium” by David Guetta. The momentum Syracuse had earlier in the game was back on the sidelines.And then, in a matter of minutes, it was gone.Florida State (11-7, 8-1 Atlantic Coast) used a 7-3 run in the fifth set to pull away from the Orange (10-6, 6-2), completing a two-set comeback, and handed the Orange a 3-2 loss Sunday afternoon.“It’s always hard when you’re so close, you can smell it,” head coach Leonid Yelin said. “(Florida State) just came up with two players and we couldn’t stop them on the block and we couldn’t stop them on the back row either.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textPayton Caffrey and Taryn Knuth combined for 40 kills for the Seminoles and found ways to pound kill after kill past diving Syracuse back liners. Their performance overshadowed a career-high 30 kills from SU freshman Polina Shemanova.“As a team, it is hard sometimes to regain momentum,” Ebangwese said, “but we try to get people going.”For the first two sets, Syracuse finished off Florida State when they needed to. Tied at 23 in the first set, the Orange used kills from two of their seniors, Santita Ebangwese and Jalissa Trotter, to pull away from the Seminoles.In the second set, it was back-to-back kills from Shemanova and Ebangwese to break a 24-24 tie and propel the Orange to a 2-0 set lead.In the third set, Florida State began its comeback by jumping out to an 11-4 lead, highlighted by a kill from Christina Ambrose that Shemanova dug into the ground. Shemanova slammed her hands on the floor. The Orange couldn’t recover from the deficit and lost 25-16.After jumping out to a 7-2 lead in the fourth set on four kills from Ebangwese and Shemanova and an ace from Valelly, the Orange were in position to put away the Seminoles. The next point, however, was a kill by Knuth that went off of Valelly’s hands and into the ground. Then came a Caffrey kill, this time going off of Shemanova’s hands.Those points kickstarted a Seminole run that ended in a 10-10 tie, and, eventually, a 25-18 set win.“I’ve never seen … anyone get killed by a volleyball ball,” Yelin said. “So you’re digging these balls, and you’re not going to get the ball perfectly to the target, but you can get it somewhere on the court.”Many of Florida State’s kills, especially those by Caffrey and Knuth, were crosscourt kills, and SU’s back line was unable to defend many of them. Often, the Orange turned and look as the blue and white sphere whizzed by their heads.“What was really disappointing was that she was hitting to our libero, our best defensive player, who has to do her job,” Yelin said, “and she didn’t.”On the offensive end, Syracuse faced constant pressure at the net from the Seminoles, who had 11 total blocks. Hitters such as Ebangwese, who often use punishing force behind her kills, were forced to loft the ball over instead.The passiveness at the net, in the end, worked in the Seminoles favor. The extra time gave FSU an opportunity to set up its offense.“When it was a double block (Santita) didn’t make good decisions, and she was hitting right straight in the blocks straight down,” Yelin said. “A couple times she was tipping but tipping the ball is the libero’s thing.”The match saw Valelly, a junior, play the most she has all season. After playing in one set prior to Sunday, she appeared in all five sets and registered 16 digs for the Orange, including a handful of diving ones.She was subbed-in to serve 12 times for the Orange, and her performance was one of the bright spots for SU.“Even though she’s a setter, we know she’s a good defender,” Yelin said. “Especially on that side, and as you could see she was digging a lot of balls.”Trotter said it’s important to take bright sports out of these painful losses. Down the road, these positives, such as Valelly’s performance, will lead to wins.But as SU players grabbed their postgame meal and fruit from the cart outside the Women’s Building gym, there were no positive expressions. There was no cheering. And there was no consoling.After blowing a 2-0 set lead and losing, there was no belief left in the players after the match. The Orange and the Seminoles each had just one loss to an ACC opponent this season, both against Pittsburgh. And Yelin said SU was better. But after the game, there was little Yelin could say to change the outcome.“No, it’s not positive,” Yelin said. “It’s very disappointing.”last_img