SU volleyball opens spring season with 5-set home loss

SU volleyball opens spring with home loss

Despite Casiano and Yastrub combining for 26 kills, the Orange fell to North Carolina, 3-2.
Published: March 4, 2021 | Updated: March 5th, 2021 at 9:53 pm
SU's Yuliia Yastrub (13) and Abby Casiano (16) block a spike during the March 5, 2021 game against UNC in the Women's Building in Syracuse, NY.
SU's Yuliia Yastrub (13) and Abby Casiano (16) block a spike during the March 5, 2021 game against UNC.

Syracuse lost its first match of the spring season in five sets against North Carolina in the Women’s Building. The fifth set ended decisively at 18-16.

The Orange’s starting lineup was setter Elena Karakasi, right-side hitter Viktoriia Lokhmanchuk, libero Lauren Hogan, middle blockers Izzy Plummer and Abby Casiano and outside hitters Ella Saada and Yuliia Yastrub. Syracuse is playing the spring season without two of its starting players — star outside hitter Polina Shemanova and middle blocker Marina Markova.

The first set started with a serve from Karakasi finished by a back row kill from Saada. Then, a block from Saada gave the lead to the Orange, 4-1. After a block from Casiano, North Carolina called its first timeout of the game. An assisted block from Casiano and Lokhmanchuk forced UNC’s second timeout of the set. To end the set, a kill error from the Tar Heels handed the Orange a 25-14 first set victory.

North Carolina changed its starting setter and right-side hitter heading into the second. A kill from Yastrub scored the first point of the second set and a one-hand set by Karakasi followed by a kill gave the Orange an early lead.

A serve from Hogan and a block from Lokhmanchuk gave the lead to the Orange by one later into the second, but  Lokhmanchuk’s kill stopped UNC’s run with Syracuse trailing 22-17. After several team errors from SU, North Carolina won the second set, 25-18.

The third set started with Karakasi on the service line and a kill from UNC. North Carolina used its first challenge of the game and gave SU’s first point of the match. A roll-shot to the center of the court and kill from Plummer shortened UNC’s lead by one. The Orange used their first challenge of the set, but it didn’t go their way. Even though Syracuse fought to catch up with UNC, the Tar Heels held their lead and took aa 2-1 advantage.

SU's Elena Karakasi (5) spikes during the March 5, 2021 game against UNC in the Women's Building in Syracuse, NY.
SU's Elena Karakasi (five) spikes the ball during a March 5, 2021 game against UNC in the Women's Building.

In the fourth set, the Orange started with two-team errors, giving the lead to North Carolina. After a kill from Casiano, UNC called its first timeout of the set. Yastrub helped the Orange keep the lead, but it wasn’t enough. A serve from Saada and a kill from Yastrub gave the lead back to the Orange, but it was Hogan’s serve that forced UNC’s second timeout of the set. Finally, a dig from defensive specialist, Berkley Hayes, a set from Karakasi, and a kill from Saada gave SU the set 25-19 and tied the match at two apiece.

The fifth set started with a UNC opening up the scoring, but a kill from Lokhmanchuk shifted momenteum. Saada’s defense on the net tied the set at 3-3, but the Orange’s team errors would come back to haunt them. The final and decisive set went back-and-forth until SU and UNC went into extra points.

After using their last challenge and timeout, the Orange fell short in the final set, 18-16.

Casiano, Yastrub and Saada led the Orange on the scoreboard. Casiano had 13 kills, four solo-blocks and five blocking assists. Yastrub also had 13 kills with three solo-blocks and 18 digs. Saada finished with 12 kills, 18 digs and one ace. Hogan also contributed 24 digs, five assists and two aces.

Without Shemanova and Markova, Yelin said Syracuse will now feature Plummer and Lokhmanchuk in starting oles.

“I really don’t like to say that these players had to replace the one’s that played before because every player has a role,” Yelin said. “These players had an opportunity to play more, we prepare them to play and now they played.”

Syracuse’s next match will be against Clemson Sunday at noon in the Women’s Building. For Casiano, preparing for the team’s next game the team will have to start with a clear mindset.

“Yes, we lost this game, but it’s in the past now,” Casiano said. “We just have to reset our mindset because this is a new game and a new team.”