Orange lose first ACC volleyball match-up

Syracuse fell to defending champion No. 18 Florida State after winning first set.

In its first match of conference play since debuting this season in the ACC, the Syracuse University women’s volleyball team was unable to pull off the upset against two-time defending ACC champion No. 18 Florida State University inside the Carrier Dome.

Syracuse (5-8) came out of the gate strong, and won the first set 25-19. It was the first time this season that the team won a set against a ranked opponent. However, Florida State (8-4) bounced back to take the next three sets and the victory, winning in four sets: 19-25, 25-16, 25-13, and 25-13.

Sophomore Silvi Uattara led Syracuse with 11 points and 10 kills. Gosia Wlaszczuk, also a sophomore, contributed eight kills. Junior Nicolette Serratore and redshirt junior Lindsay McCabe paced the defense, as Serratore accrued 18 digs and McCabe notched a game-high four blocks. McCabe also had four kills and led the Orange with a .500 hitting percentage.

After winning the first set, Syracuse was jubilant. But, the momentum swiftly changed in Florida State’s favor, and the Orange could never recover. “We were just like, ‘Ok, we can do it,’ and we just let them in for that little bit of time and they definitely took advantage of that,” Serratore said. “Obviously we didn’t reciprocate. We didn’t come back to our first mental state, so we just need to stay strong and remember that one set isn’t enough to win a game.”

In the second set, Florida State dashed Syracuse’s home court advantage, and broke out by delivering 17 kills. The Orange stayed close early on, and trailed by only three points before the Seminoles scored six consecutive points to take a commanding lead that it would not relinquish. In the third and fourth sets, it was evident that Syracuse was overmatched. Florida State outscored the Orange 50-26 to clinch the victory.

Syracuse committed costly mistakes that led to its demise. In the match, the Orange had eight service errors to the Seminoles’ one. In the three dropped sets, Syracuse gave up 15 attack errors and seven service errors. “We have to be able to focus,” head coach Leonid Yelin said. “They (Florida State) didn’t do anything different…we were athletic enough with our size, but we weren’t doing our job to be right there.”

Florida State was directed by the efforts of Nicole Walch and her sister, Elise Walch. Nicole, a sophomore, had a game-high 18 points. Elise, a senior, was right behind her with 15.5 points. The dynamic duo tallied 32 kills, 16 digs and three blocks combined. The Seminoles outnumbered Syracuse in kills, digs, assists, hitting percentage and service aces.

Syracuse hits the hardwood again in the Carrier Dome at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013 to clash with ACC opponent University of Miami (Florida). The Hurricanes did not garner enough votes to place in this week’s Top-25 coaches’ poll, but do boast an 8-3 record (1-0 ACC) after a thrilling five set victory over Boston College. Syracuse will be looking for its first conference win as a member of the ACC. 

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