Syracuse volleyball rebound with a win at home

SU volleyball responds with a win at home

After a 3-0 loss to Iowa, the Orange defeated Morgan State 3-0 during the Syracuse/Cornell Invitational.

Syracuse University's Women's Volleyball team host Morgan State on Saturday, September 16, 2023. Syracuse University's women's Volleyball team defeats Morgan State University three sets to zero. (Newshouse photo by Theoplis Stewart II)
Theoplis Stewart II
Syracuse’s women’s volleyball team host Morgan State on Saturday, Sept. 16 at the Syracuse/Cornell Invitational.

Syracuse women’s volleyball team started off the season over the weekend with two games in the Syracuse/Cornell Invitational.

After a 3-0 loss against Iowa in the first home game of the season on Friday, head coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam called for some improvements. He recommended changes in opponent-run management, avoiding errors and focus. 

The next day, the Orange got redemption from their first loss. SU responded to their game on Friday with a 3-0 win over Morgan State on Saturday afternoon. 

“We had chances against Iowa but we couldn’t take advantage of it on a consistent basis,” Ganesharatnam said. “I thought the team, overall, achieved the goals we set for ourselves. Because of that, I feel like we took a big step forward and our development.”

Sophomore right-side hitter Ariana Joubert led the response. After posting a career-high 11.5 points against Iowa, Joubert topped it with a 17-point performance against Morgan State, less than 24 hours after her original personal best.   

“That’s what I want from this season,” said Jourhert when asked about her back-to-back personal bests. “I’ve been working on being more consistent offensively, so hopefully I stay up in those numbers.”

Greta Schlichter (1) recieves a serve from Iowa volleyball in their home opener Friday night.
Diana Valdivia
Syracuse volleyball player Greta Schlichter (1) receives a serve from Iowa in their home opener on Friday night.

Although the home side relentlessly clawed back into sets, SU could not stop Iowa’s four-point runs, highlighted by Iowa’s Delaney McSweeney’s team-high 8.5 points.

The Orange lost against the Iowa Hawks in three sets in the home opener (21-25, 20-25, 15-25).

Syracuse had more kills than the visitors 33-30, demonstrating the team’s ability to power hits over the towering defenders. However, the Orange let themselves down, committing 24 attack errors that allowed their opponent’s runs. 

The game on Saturday featured more strong performances from freshman left back Greta Schlichter, who scored 10 points, and graduate middle blocker Lauren McCabe, who had seven. 

“It was definitely not the outcome we wanted to have,” said Schlichter following the match against Iowa. “In the end, I’m just so happy to enjoy this atmosphere and be able to compete with this great team.”

The Orange responded to Ganesharatnam’s call and looked to improve their performance. 

Syracuse University's Women's volleyball team host Morgan State on Saturday, September 16, 2023. Syracuse University's women's Volleyball team defeats Morgan State University three sets to zero. (Newshouse photo by Theoplis Stewart II)
Theoplis Stewart II
Two spectators at the Syracuse/Cornell Invitation pose with Syracuse University’s orange mascot Otto on Saturday.

Syracuse defeated Morgan State in three sets (25-21, 25-21, 25-19). Against a team similar in size, Syracuse put up blocks and ran a more successful attack previewed in the Iowa game. Joubert and Schlichter were at the heart of the offensive display with 17 and 10 points respectively.  

Freshman setter Mira Ledermueller’s 33-assist game was key in the win and improved the attacking output of the whole team, including McCabe, who had eight kills.

“[Ledermueller’s] gave us great confidence in hitting. She was great in between plays,” McCabe said. “It’s awesome when I’m getting ready to go hit knowing the center wants to feed me the ball.”

Syracuse ended the Morgan State game with 39 kills. The team totaled 20 attack errors, less than the previous game, and effectively limited the Bear’s runs. The lessons taken from Iowa were on display on Saturday as the Orange ended the weekend with two strong performances and one win. 

The win was “a confidence booster” ahead of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) play beginning next week, Joubert said.

Syracuse’s women’s volleyball team returns to the road on Friday, Sept. 22, to face the Louisville Cardinals to open the ACC play.