Dommestrup racks up assists despite teammates’ razzing
It seems Aila Dommestrup’s Syracuse volleyball teammates get a kick out of ice hockey, cold weather and the word, ‘Eh.’
‘They laugh at me a lot in practice,’ Dommestrup said. ‘I don’t really know why. Maybe because I’m Canadian.’
Dommestrup, a sophomore setter, will lead the Orangewomen (11-6) into tonight’s matchup against Niagra at Manley Field House with a four-game winning streak on the line.
While her teammates will have to keep their giggles in check, Dommestrup’s play this season has been nothing to laugh at.
‘You know what you’re going to get with Aila,’ assistant coach Alexis Dankulic said. ‘Personality-wise, she’s very easy going, easy to coach and work with. She knows when to laugh and when to focus. She gets along with everybody.’
Dommestrup leads the team with 462 assists – 250 more than her closest teammate. Dommestrup has also established herself as a blocking force on the right side of the net, Dankulic said.
The 6-foot Dommestrup said her height is an advantage when it comes to the blocking that head coach Jing Pu wants to see. Lately, the Orangewomen are living up to Pu’s expectations, having outblocked their last five opponents.
‘Physically, she’s the strong and tall type of setter you want,’ Dankulic said.
‘She’s got good hands and she keeps the same personality whether we’re down or up.’
Dommestrup’s position at setter requires a heavy dose of communication and understanding of her surroundings. Dommestrup’s coachable demeanor allows her to fulfill that role.
‘The setter is much like a point guard or quarterback,’ Dankulic said. ‘She has to run the offense. If we want a middle hitter to do something different or push our outsides somewhere, we go to the setter to fix that. Aila fits that role well.’
‘I just try to be consistent for the team,’ Dommestrup said. ‘I try not to have any ups and downs that could affect anyone else.’
Dommestrup said her steady play comes from her role model, Julia Saunders. Dommestrup knows her better as Mom.
‘My mother raised two kids and went back to school when she was older and got her masters,’ Dommestrup said. ‘She works overtime. She’s a high school teacher, but she still teaches a couple university courses each week. She really works hard to support herself and support mine and my brother’s active lifestyle.’
Now it’s Dommestrup doing the supporting. She’s averaging 8.56 assists per game and has 35 blocks on the season.
In tonight’s matchup against Niagra, coaches would like to see a combination of offensive and defensive execution-especially against a team that hasn’t beat Syracuse in its last 10 matches.
‘We’ve seen improvements in our offense-to-defense coverage and blocking, but at the same time there was weak offensive execution,’ Dankulic said. ‘In order to be successful in the upcoming weekend we have to put both of those together.’
Dommestrup hopes the team can be as consistent as it knows she is.
‘We all just have to keep consistent,’ Dommestrup said. ‘It’s about pushing ourselves to keep getting better and staying focused and confident.’
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