3rd set comeback propels Syracuse to win in ACC opener

first_imgWith the match tied at one set apiece, Syracuse found itself down 23-18 in the third set. To win and go up two sets to one, Boston College needed just two more points. The Eagles never got one.A 7-0 run by the Orange — thanks in part to five of Kendra Lukacs career-high 18 kills on the match — not only won the set for Syracuse, but it tipped the rest of the match as well. Lukacs’ dominance paired with two timely substitutions keyed the Orange run, and SU (9-5, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) beat BC (3-8, 0-1), three sets to one, on Wednesday night in the Women’s Building. Syracuse changed its setter and one of its middle blockers in the midst of a third set run by the Eagles and immediately saw results. The new setter was Jalissa Trotter, Syracuse’s opening-day starter at the position. Trotter had been injured for the past couple weeks and Annie Bozzo replaced her for the last few non-conference games.“We just felt, with the tempo of the game, we have to change,” said head coach Leonid Yelin. “We didn’t (plan) this … it just happened. We have to make these kind of changes, because the whole goal is winning.”Trotter tallied 20 assists in just two sets on Wednesday, good for second on the team, but wasn’t the only change to the Orange rotation in the third set. Freshman middle blocker Dana Gardner, having only played 14 total sets in Syracuse’s first 13 games, was thrust into the spotlight to play in the biggest match of her career. The Knoxville, Tennessee native only had one kill in three sets, but Yelin thought her production went further than the box score.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“Dana, she did exactly what we asked,” he said. “We know she’s not gonna jump through the roof, but she does a solid job.”If not for Lukacs’ heroics, though, the surprise effectiveness by Trotter and Gardner would’ve been all for naught. Lukacs’ five kills during the pivotal Orange comeback included three in a row to end the third set. And she wasn’t done. The sophomore added four more kills in the fourth set, two of which came consecutively to break a 22-all tie and give Syracuse two match points. “One of the hardest things is coming back after a break or after a timeout and coming back with that same mentality,” Lukacs said. “A huge part of whether you’re up or down is just making sure you maintain that momentum and bring it into the next set.”Anastasiya Gorelina also set a career-high in kills with 20, and for her, a deficit like the one the Orange faced against BC changes how she plays.“I start playing with my heart,” she said. “Like I jump higher. I don’t know exactly what changed inside, but it’s something like…” Gorelina snapped her fingers. “… and (then) I (know I) need to be more aggressive.”Whatever happened inside Syracuse on Wednesday, it translated into the first conference win of the season for the Orange. “It’s a two-part season,” Yelin said. “Hopefully three parts.” He smiled. “It’s the preseason, then there’s the conference. It’s the second part. “Winning today was very important.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 20, 2017 at 10:02 pm Contact Eric: erblack@syr.edu | @esblack34last_img read more