Syracuse heads into final two weeks of season hoping to end on positive note

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first_img Published on November 21, 2013 at 1:07 am Contact Eric: [email protected] Following Friday’s loss against Pittsburgh, the slim chances that Syracuse had at making it to the NCAA tournament vanished.The Orange wants to win, but with nothing to play for, it is hard to keep going. Instead, SU sets goals for the final two weeks of the season.“To get better,” head coach Leonid Yelin said. “With everyone coming back next year, we just want to build something for next year.”The Orange (14-14, 9-7 Atlantic Coast) will hit the road this weekend to face Clemson (13-14, 7-9) on Friday at 7 p.m. and Georgia Tech (10-18, 4-12) on Sunday at 1 p.m. SU played these two teams at home earlier in the season, beating both in convincing fashion, but when it faces them this weekend it will try to work on the little things, including getting blockers involved and serving.Syracuse will finish its season with a home game against Boston College on Wednesday at 7 p.m. and then a trip to South Bend, Ind., next Saturday against Notre Dame at 2 p.m.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textComing into the season, the Orange wasn’t expected to contend in its first ACC season. SU was only ranked at No. 12 in the ACC’s preseason rankings. Winning 8-of-10 propelled Syracuse up to seventh going into the weekend. The Orange felt underestimated even during its recent run of success.“At the beginning of the year many people underestimated us,” outside hitter Nicolette Serratore said. “We have started to prove ourselves though. People think it is a fluke that we have won these games. So we just want to prove that we are a stable team and bigger threat next year.” Although the tournament chances have slipped away, Yelin and the players say there are still things they can work on. One of these issues is getting the middle blockers more involved in the game. Having the middle blockers more involved with the game makes a team’s game more unpredictable. They are the first ones able to touch the ball from the setters’ hands.“You have to play to them since they are the first step to hit the ball,” Yelin said. “If you are not going to use them, nobody is going to pay attention to then and everybody else is going to face the double block. So it is a balance to find out when to use them and how often to use them.”This burden falls on the hands of freshman setter Erica Handley. Just three weeks removed from winning her first-ever ACC Freshman of the Week Honors, Handley now has another. After her strong performance this weekend, she garnered attention for the award.One thing that she struggled with this weekend was serving. Handley had three aces, but she still feels like she missed too many serves.“Missing serves comes with aggressiveness,” Handley said “We do not just want to lollipop it over the net and give them an easy serve receive. So I just have to try and minimize that.”Yelin says it is not just one player, but also a collective issue. He also acknowledges the balance that must exist between serving it harder or softer over the net.“Without going with an aggressive serve, you put yourself defensively in a really tough situation,” Yelin said. “These are two things, with the serve and serve receive, that if you are doing these two things better you start winning.”He went on to explain that it is sort of a give-and-take system. Getting an ace is not the only effective way of serving. Making the ball difficult to play is something that can upset the opposing team’s setter.Syracuse looks to improve on these two things in its final four games of the season, showing that the winning is not a fluke and that it is here to stay.“We just want to win it out.” Handley said, “We want to prove that we can be a winning team. Pitt didn’t expect us to beat them the first time and I feel like that is how a lot of the conference feels about us. We just have to keep proving them wrong.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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