Kendra Lukacs, Ella Saada step up in Syracuse’s 3-1 win over Miami

Posted by

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Late Thursday night, Syracuse head coach Leonid Yelin found out that he would be missing Christina Oyawale, a key part of his potent offensive attack, for Friday night’s game against the Miami Hurricanes. SU found itself needing a player to step up and fill her role at the net while the redshirt senior left the team to cope with her grandmother’s death. The Orange found two.Up 5-3 in the third set, Kendra Lukacs dove and extended her arms to keep a Hurricanes kill from hitting the ground, and proceeded to dig the ensuing attack later that play, helping extended SU’s lead and kickstart a run that would put it in control.Later in the set, SU’s Ella Saada looked up and began her ascent toward the ball. Standing on the left side of the net, she received Jalissa Trotter’s set and hammered it past a Hurricane player. The kill put the Orange up 22-13, a commanding lead they would not surrender.Combined, Lukacs and Saada had 18 kills, 48 total attacks, and 23 digs, and provided the complement to Polina Shemanova and Santita Ebangwese that Syracuse (10-5, 6-1 Atlantic Coast) needed, propelling the Orange to a 3-1 win over Miami (9-5, 5-2) Friday night.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textYellin said that ever since he recruited Lukacs, defense has been her strongest skill. She has played libero, a role she was thrust into during a preseason match against Wyoming when starting libero Aliah Bowllan had to be taken to the hospital. Since then, she has alternated between the two, even starting at libero during last Friday’s loss to then-No. 8 Pittsburgh in place of Bowllan. Friday, the two were on the court at the same time, something that doesn’t usually happen.“She’s the kind of kid who just gives whatever we need of her,” Yelin said. “I’m not sure how happy she is of this, but we are.”Lukacs’ role on Friday ended up being larger than expected. Mariia Levanova started the match, but was subbed out during the first set because of nerves and played sporadically the rest of the way. Levanova had two of SU’s seven errors in the first set.“She [Levanova] was too nervous, and Kendra did a better job of controlling herself,” Yellin said. “I was trying to give [Levanova]  some opportunities.”In the end, it was Lukacs who emerged. She had an ace in the third set that kickstarted a 15-7 run, which gave the Orange a 19-9 lead they would not surrender. She also had a perfect hitting percentage, her highest of the season.On a night where Shemanova set a career-high with 25 kills, and Ebangwese had 15 kills and six blocks, it was Saada, the sophomore outside hitter, who led the offense with 44 total attacks. That was her second-highest total this season and doubled her previous high in conference play this year.It wasn’t that she was playing differently since Oyawale was out, Saada said, but that she focused more on finishing her jobs.After struggling to get the front line going during the first set, SU made adjustments to its setting plan before the second that paid immediate dividends. They jumped out to a 12-5 lead, highlighted by 3 Saada kills.“We were clicking a little bit better than I was clicking with the middles the first game,” Trotter said. “I was just using it [outside set] and it was working.”Despite missing one of its key front liners and dropping the first set, Syracuse was able to recover and finish off an ACC opponent with a similar record.“For the most part, we just went in confident, made some adjustments on the serve receive, on the block,” Trotter said, “and we looked like a better team overall.” Comments Published on October 12, 2018 at 11:17 pm Contact Andrew: [email protected] | @CraneAndrewlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *