Sports

Homann provides frontcourt stability as SU volleyball’s ‘quarterback’

Consistently recording 30 to 40 assists per game, SU volleyball setter Laura Homann has played a key role in the Orange's record start to the season.

Most teams don’t use the words ‘rainbows’ and ‘butterflies’ to describe their quarterback. But most teams don’t have Laura Homann.

Homann, the setter on the volleyball team and de facto quarterback, thinks her approach to setting is the reason why the terms ‘rainbows’ and ‘butterflies’ are being floated around to describe her.

‘Ever since I took my approach last year for hitting, they were like, ‘Wow, you look like a ballerina,” Homann said. ‘Setting is more graceful, and hitting is all about power. Setting is more like finesse and accuracy. It’s just very different.’

But that approach, that difference, has set the team up — literally and figuratively — for its 20-2 start to the season and for a strong run in Big East play.

Homann has quietly provided stability in the frontcourt for the Orange this season as the team has gotten off to its record start. As SU’s setter, she is the team’s quarterback.

‘The setter is kind of like the quarterback on the team,’ SU assistant coach Carol LaMarche said. ‘You’re only as good as your setter.’

‘She’s always happy,’ LaMarche added. ‘Always working hard. She never has a bad day mentally, and that’s just what you need for your setter because you need your setter to be stable.’

In her second season starting, Homann has been that stable setter for the Orange, consistently getting 30 to 40 assists per game. But she often goes unnoticed with all of the heavy hitters on the team.

With teammates Hayley Todd, Noemie Lefebvre and Mindy Stanislovaitis constantly in the headlines for their monster offensive games finishing Homann’s sets, Homann is definitely doing her job. It just happens to be a job that doesn’t receive as much attention as the quarterback of a football team. But it’s equally important.

‘The quarterback for a football team gets a lot more credit than she does for the volleyball team,’ LaMarche said. ‘But anyone who knows what’s going on with volleyball can see that Laura’s a great setter.’

But even though she doesn’t get the recognition, Homann understands she is essential in every point the team makes.

‘Yeah, I probably (go under the radar),’ Homann said. ‘It’s part of setting. You have to expect that when you play the position.

‘I’m just trying to make the hitters look good. If they’re putting the ball away, I know I’m doing my job.’

Homann’s skills as a setter are being noticed on the defensive side, too. Teammate Sarah Hayes, a defensive specialist, referenced how evenly kills are spread among the team, a testament to the team’s setter. Hayes knows Homann is undervalued. The flashy kills are what get noticed. Not the player who sets those kills up.

‘Without (the setter and defensive specialists), they wouldn’t get the kills,’ Hayes said. ‘That’s just how sports work out. Some positions, like the quarterback, everyone notices them. I don’t think it affects her. It’s just part of the game.’

But Homann is quick to give all the credit to the hitters. She sees herself as a facilitator, not the main culprit for the team’s high number of kills.

Just like her under-the-radar position, Homann is not out to steal the attention, either.

‘I give (the hitters) total credit for everything they’ve done,’ Homann said. ‘I’m just there to help them make it happen.’

But it is hard to ignore all that has happened for the Orange this season with Homann in a starring — albeit undervalued — role.

Her coaches and her teammates all reference her stability and skill on the court. And that is all important and true of Homann so far this season.

But then they find their way back to how she motivates the team. Or how she pumps them up or picks them up if they are having an off day.

‘She can cheer them on,’ LaMarche said.

And then the description comes. The one that speaks to her effort, talent and leadership on the court. The two words that no other ‘quarterback’ can claim.

‘The team,’ LaMarche said, ‘says that she’s like rainbows and butterflies.’

rnmarcus@syr.edu

 

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