VBALL : SU fails to shoulder Cobbina’s injury vs. one-loss St. John’s
The night before Syracuse’s matchup with top-ranked St. John’s, head volleyball coach Jing Pu said no matter how good Syracuse’s opponent is they would not be scared or intimidated. But an injured Cheryl Cobbina and a dominant St. John’s team were too much for the Orange to overcome.
St. John’s defeated Syracuse, 3-0 (30-20, 30-19, 30-21), on Friday at the Women’s Building.
The Orange showed it was not intimidated by St John’s 25-1 record at the beginning of the game. Syracuse tied the first game at 12-12. All night Syracuse started each game playing well, but could not keep the momentum. St. John’s eventually pulled away to take the first game, 30-20.
‘We came out strong at the beginning, but kind of let go toward the middle,’ freshmen Samantha Ainsworth said.
St. John’s has been nearly unstoppable this year, only having lost one match and blowing through everyone in the Big East, defeating other top teams like Notre Dame, Louisville, and Marquette, 3-0. In fact, the Red Storm has not even lost one game in a match since Sept. 24. For Syracuse to pull out a win would have been an improbable upset.
‘It’s nothing to be down about,’ freshman Kacie MacTavish said. ‘St. John’s is a good team and for the most part we played well.’
Even with the talent of St. John’s, the Orange showed some glimmers of hope. Syracuse was prepared to deal with St. John’s but their offense is extremely quick and complicated, assistant coach Carol Munger said. Still the Orange out-blocked St. John’s, 10-7.
‘If we were to play the game again, we could win,’ Munger said.
The Orange was also without its best offensive player, Cheryl Cobbina, who leads the team in kills and kills per game. She has been nursing a shoulder injury and sat out against Rutgers and did not practice throughout much of the week, Munger said.
Syracuse was forced to use a different set of players with freshmen Samantha Ainsworth and Annabelle Pellerin, and sophomore Emily Kaier picking up the slack. With young players having to step in, Syracuse’s offense suffered, only recording 31 kills to St. John’s 56.
With the loss to St. John’s, Syracuse no longer has a chance to qualify for the Big East tournament. It is important that the Orange stay focused on winning its last two Big East games and not worry about who its opponent is, MacTavish said.
‘I think we need to forget about it and play hard for the rest of the season,’ MacTavish said.
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