SU looking for balance between improving serves, resting injured players

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 24, 2018 at 10:16 pm Contact Andrew: arcrane@syr.edu | @CraneAndrew During warmups before an Oct. 12 game against Miami, there was something different about Syracuse’s Santita Ebangwese. The senior was energetic as usual, dancing to “Titanium” by David Guetta and air guitaring to “Thunderstruck” by AC/DC, but her right thigh and hip were wrapped tight with athletic tape.“I don’t even think about it when I’m playing,” she said. “They aren’t serious at all.”A week later against North Carolina, it was Aliah Bowllan who was injured. Head coach Leonid Yelin made a last-minute decision to sit SU’s libero to rest her elbow, he said. Her one-game absence turned into two when she missed Sunday’s game against North Carolina State. The injuries are beginning to accumulate for the Orange.After reaching the halfway point of conference play last weekend, Syracuse (12-6, 8-2 Atlantic Coast) finds itself fourth in the ACC. Its conference winning percentage of .800 through the first half of ACC play is its best since joining in 2013. In order for SU to continue winning, its injured players need to return and stay healthy. The Orange want to improve their serves and digs, and finding the right balance between rest and practice while injured, associate head coach Erin Little said, is the key.“I think every athlete understands that you’re never going to be 100 percent,” she said. “Every athlete deals with little pains, and it’s just part of being an athlete.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAt the beginning of the season, redshirt senior Christina Oyawale missed seven games with an ankle injury. Bowllan has now missed two because of her elbow. Ebangwese hasn’t missed any, but is still hindered by her thigh and hip.Ensuring that Syracuse’s players are eating healthy and getting enough sleep, among other treatments, helps the Orange practice through injuries, Little said. The Orange’s post game meal oftentimes includes containers of fruit.“We do still need to get reps in practice, and it’s all about management,” Little said. “I think they’ve learned how to balance the lifestyle of being a student-athlete.”Laura Angle | Digital Design EditorDuring the second half of ACC play, the Orange will spend a lot of time on in-game situations, searching for how they “click” together, Little said. At this point in the season, it’s expected that all of the basic skills are proficient. Now that SU’s figuring out, Little said, “can we use that skill?”On offense, the serve needs consistency. Little said the ratio of service errors to aces should be 1-to-1. Syracuse holds nearly a 2-to-1 ratio, though, with 151 service errors compared to 78 aces. Little called the serving “hit or miss.”On Sunday, the Orange had six aces, their second most of the season. They also had five service errors. Even though Yelin wants to keep the number down, he understands that SU can’t lay off the aggressive serve in fear of errors.“It was inconsistent,” Yelin said after the win over NC State. “We should be more consistent on the tough serve. We have to risk, but (it’s) different because there’s a stupid risk and a smart risk.”For the Orange to achieve their goal of playing in the NCAA tournament when December rolls around, they need to find the right balance between improving and resting their injured players.It involves a lot of athletic tape, rest, healthy foods and work in practice.“We’re just trying to perfect the things that we need to perfect,” Trotter said. “The things that aren’t clicking, that’s what we’re trying to fix.” Commentslast_img read more