first_imgDown 24-16 in its conference home-opener, Syracuse fended off three-straight set points in the first set. To keep the rally going, head coach Leonid Yelin had freshman Marina Markova serve. At the time, she was the nation’s second-most accurate server.From behind the service line, Markova rose up and slapped the ball with her right hand. The ball started to dip too early, smacked the net, and cost SU the set in an eventual 3-1 loss to Wake Forest.In that loss, Syracuse (5-10, 2-6 Atlantic Coast) committed 15 service errors and 27 attacking errors, most of them occurring at crucial parts of the game. While errors are a natural part of the game, the Orange struggle with extended periods of sloppy play in tight sets that allow opponents to gain momentum by capitalizing off of Syracuse mistakes. Though SU has dealt with injuries and lineup instability, the main problem, coaches and players said, is more mental.But Yelin and rest of his staff know that this year’s team has the talent to be successful. Syracuse ranks in the top five of the ACC in hitting percentage, and sophomore Polina Shemanova leads the conference in kills per set as well as total points. But to reduce unforced mistakes, the first step for SU comes with an improved mindset and focus.“That’s something every player has to deal with herself,” Yelin said, “How can she stay in the game and not to be afraid? At the same time she has to be mentally prepared and not to take away anything she’s been doing in practice.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textEva Suppa | Digital Design EditorIn a Florida road trip over the weekend, though, those “stupid errors” appeared in back-to-back losses to Miami and Florida State, assistant coach Derryk Williams said. In a straight-set loss to the Hurricanes, Syracuse tallied 19 attacking errors and 12 service errors. The following game against the Seminoles, the Orange committed a season-high 21 attacking errors and nine service errors.For the coaching staff, finding ways to boost the team’s confidence and keep errors down starts with good practice sessions. In addition to taking service reps during practice, SU outside hitters simulate real game situations by forcing hitters to make quick reads. If there is a double or triple block, the outside hitters need to adjust accordingly. These simulated drills also help hitters develop chemistry with each other, Shemanova said.The next jump that this team has to make is taking the mindset they have at practice and taking it into the game, Yelin said. Still, it’s possible no amount of reps can necessarily alleviate mental lapses. While in-game mistakes and errors are unavoidable, Yelin doesn’t want his players to be haunted by them.In their home stretch against No. 3 Pittsburgh and Virginia, the Orange found the consistently clean play that they’ve been looking for. Against Pitt, Syracuse pushed the Panthers to set point in the first set before two attacking errors from Markova gave Pitt the win. Against Virginia, Syracuse also reduced its service errors, committing just three in the victory.“We showed up and we played for three straight sets and it’s the first time this year we played three straight without huge lulls in between,” Williams said. “We’ve had a few times where we’re up a bunch, and then we let them get five-straight points with stupid errors.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 23, 2019 at 10:39 pm Contact Nick: [email protected]last_img

Leave a Reply

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