Syracuse volleyball gets its first win of the season in five sets against Clemson

SU volleyball beats Clemson in five sets

Viktoriia Lokhmanchuk led the Orange to victory with a career-high 17 kills, while Elena Karakasi contributed 40 assists in the Orange's 3-2 win.
Published: March 7, 2021
Syracuse Womens Volleyball Takes on Clemson - March 7th, 2021
Abby Casiano (16) and Viktoriia Lokhmanchuk (23) celebrate in the 5th set. Syracuse defeated Clemson in 5 sets after winning the first two sets.

Syracuse volleyball won its first spring season game in a five-set match against Clemson. After winning the first two sets and losing the other two, the Orange won 16-14 in the fifth and decisive set. Cuse’s game against North Carolina on Saturday was also deadlocked 14-14 the fifth set, but didn’t go the Orange’s way.

Head coach Leonid Yelin went with a different approach and changed the starting line-up. Syracuse led with middle blockers Izzy Plummer and Abby Casiano, outside hitters Ella Saada and Viktoriia Lokhmanchuk, setter Elena Karakasi, right side hitter Naomi Franco and libero Lauren Hogan.

The first set started with Saada on the service line, followed by a killing error from Clemson to open the scoring game for the Orange. After several errors from Cuse, the Tigers tied the game 4-4. Clemson used their first challenge of the game to cut Syracuse’s lead by one. A three-point rally from defensive specialist Berkley Hayes tied the game for the Orange.

After back-to-back points from both teams, a kill from Casiano gave Syracuse the 11-10 lead. The Tigers tied the game 12-12 but an offensive play by Karakasi and a kill from Franco gave the lead back to the Orange. Syracuse went on a roll and left Clemson behind with a score of 17-13, but another run from the Tigers forced Cuse’s first timeout of the game. An ace from Lokhmanchuk forced Clemson’s second timeout of the set, and put Syracuse two points out from winning. A spectacular dig from Hogan and a kill from Saada gave the victory to the Orange, 25-20.

Clemson started the scoring game in the second set, but a kill from Lokhmanchuk stopped their momentum. A dump from Karakasi tied the game 5-5. The scoring game then went back-and-forth but the Tigers got the 9-7 lead. After a tough call from the referees, Clemson used their second challenge of the game. A seven-point rally from Saada on the service line gave Syrause the 15-10 lead.

After an out-of-bounds call from the referees, the Tigers used their last challenge of the game. The Tigers job on the service line pressured Syracuse to call their first time-out of the set. A kill from Saada kept the Orange’s lead and forced Clemson to call their second timeout of the set putting the score at 21-16. Several points from the Tigers pushed Yelin to use his last time out of the set. Two service errors from Clemson gave the match-point and win to Syracuse 25-21 and the Orange led the game 2-0.

Saada started the third set on the service line, but it was Franco who started the scoring game for Cuse. Several kills from Clemson forced Syracuse’s first timeout of the set with a score of 1-5. After some killing errors from the Orange, Yuliia Yastrub entered the game. A kill from Franco and another one from Yastrub left Syracuse trailing by four and forced the Tigers first timeout of the set. Two consecutive kills from Casiano forced Clemson to call their second timeout of the set. After Cuse fought back from an eight-point deficit, the Tigers won the match 25-20. The Orange were still leading the game 2-1.

Syracuse Womens Volleyball Takes on Clemson - March 7th, 2021
Viktoriia Lokhmanchuk (23) spikes the ball in the 4th set.

Clemson started the set with a 5-0 lead, until Franco opened the scoring game for Syracuse. A call from the referees forced the second challenge of the game for the Orange. A strong lead from the Tigers then pushed Cuse to call their last timeout of the set. After several points from Clemson, a kill from Franco and a block from Casiano broke the Tigers roll. An ace from Saada couldn’t stop Clemson from wining the set 25-17 and pushing the game to a fifth and decisive set.

The fifth set started with Karakasi on the serve, followed by a block from Casiano. A kill from Casiano pushed Syracuse’s lead 5-3. Several killing errors by the Orange helped the Tigers tie the game 6-6. With Clemson leading by one, Cuse called their first timeout of the set. A kill from Lokhmanchuk tied the game 9-9 and quickly, due to an offensive play of their setter, the Tigers got the lead again. After a really tense match, two kills in a row from Lokhmanchuk and a dump from Karakasi, Syracuse won the game 16-14.

“It was great, I was very happy about getting the last point because I couldn’t imagine how it would be to lose another five-set game,” said Karakasi about getting the last point of the match.

Franco, Lokhmanchuk and Karakasi were the players that stood out in the win over Clemson. Franco had 15 kills, four blocking-assists and three digs. Lokhmanchuk stood out with 17 kills, 12 digs and one ace. Karakasi ended up with 40 assists, 15 digs and five kills. The libero, Hogan, finished the game with 18 digs, four assists and one ace.

Yelin was very excited that they won against Clemson and he couldn’t believe that they had to relive the situation from the UNC match. After reaching match-point in the fifth set, the other team tied the game and then played extra points. Even though he couldn’t believe it, he said that playing extra matches helps the teams development.

“It’s our second match of this season and I feel like we have already played at least six matches,” said Yelin. “It’s good for our team, especially because we won, and because it just helps us to get in that game situation.”

Syracuse will travel to Florida to face the University of Miami on March 12 and Virginia on March 13.