VB : Weekend losses provide extra motivation at Siena’s expense
Syracuse was hoping for a shot of energy Tuesday ahead of its two final Big East games this weekend. After the Orange swept Siena, 3-0, at the Women’s Building, Syracuse received just what the doctor ordered.
This past weekend, SU was dealt a major blow after losing two straight sweeps to St. John’s and Connecticut. Playing the Huskies, Syracuse lacked authority and was not making the plays they have made in the past.
‘Our confidence was definitely down after this weekend,’ junior April Quigley said. ‘Losing two games on the road at the end of season when we need to win is tough.’
The losses this week shook the team, and SU knew it had to come out ready to win Tuesday night. Helped by a larger-than-normal crowd at the Women’s Building, the team relaxed and was better able to play its game.
The team came out with something to prove to themselves, Quigley said. After a deflating weekend on the road, the team had to prove it could play well and win with authority.
It showed as the team looked much more mobile on the court. Senior Joscie Kaup made diving plays several times, as did others. Hit balls were challenged to a greater extent. Over the weekend, there were times when balls dropped between players, and SU did not look like a team that had played together for the past two months, assistant coach Carol LaMarche said.
‘This game, we weren’t afraid to make mistakes,’ junior Brittany Kern said. ‘Being aggressive, you’re going to make mistakes, that’s given. Well, in UConn, it was kind of the reverse situation – we were not aggressive and we still were making mistakes.’
The crowd – consisting mostly of young girls – cheered enthusiastically at times, helping the players relax and have more fun on the court. The first couple of points of each match were met with loud cheers, and senior Cheryl Cobbina seemed to be a fan favorite. She smashed a few down the lines that were met with wild cheers as the game progressed.
SU knew it was the better team, Kern said, it just had to come out and prove it. After securing a win like this, the Orange now feels it has what it needs going into a crucial pair of games that will decide Syracuse’s season. The Orange sits in ninth place in the Big East, and only the top eight teams make the conference tournament.
‘We needed to build our confidence, especially after the UConn game,’ LaMarche said. ‘The girls were pretty down on themselves this weekend. Today, the girls played pretty well, the crowd was pumping us up and that’s what we need going into the weekend.’
While the win over a team that looked impressive on paper feels good, players are wary of how much stock the team should put in the win. The team must be cognizant of fact that Villanova and Seton Hall are going to be higher quality teams.
Still, the team did not lack in energy, and in fact seemed upbeat all day heading up to the game, Kern said. After securing the win, SU is ready to face the challenges that await it Friday.
‘I can’t wait,’ Kern said. ‘It’s going to a big weekend. It’s going to be our last two home games of the season, so we’re really excited and looking forward to it.’
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