The last time that Boston College volleyball faced off against Syracuse, it took place in the Margot Connell Recreation Center and the Eagles handled the Orange in three swift sets. In Friday evening’s matchup in Syracuse, N.Y., though, the Orange played differently and forced BC to make quick adjustments.
It was a struggle for the Eagles (17–13, 6–10 Atlantic Coast) to win the first set of the match, while Syracuse (2–24, 0–16) dominated in the second set. But the Eagles adjusted in the third and fourth and crushed the Orange by a 13-point margin in both sets in their 3–1 win.
“[Syracuse] was pretty different this time around than when we saw them the first time…I’m glad we were able to adjust. Each match is going to be a little bit different and this one had its own unique challenges,” BC Head Coach Jason Kennedy said.
The final set scores were 25–22, 25–17, 25–12, and 25–12.
Syracuse’s Veronica Sierzant scored the first point of a fiery first set. After BC jumped out to quick lead, the set then became a constant back-and-forth between the Eagles and the Orange, with neither team able to maintain a consistent lead.
The largest point disparity happened early in the first set, with BC up 10–5.
A total of seven errors from BC allowed Syracuse to catch up. The Eagles’ three-point win in the set can largely be accredited to Alayna Crabtree and Katrina Jensen.
Crabtree and Jensen accounted for three and four of BC’s total 12 kills, respectively. Jensen’s final kill in the first set allowed BC to pull ahead of Syracuse by one, to make it 23–22. Two consecutive attack errors from Syracuse followed Jensen’s kill, and gave BC the win.
With eight errors in the second set, the Eagles never held a lead, and the closest they ever came to one was when it was tied 2–2.
“We played very tight and nervous, and I thought [in] the first two sets we weren’t playing as free as we needed to,” Kennedy said.
After BC tied the set at two, Syracuse rattled off seven unanswered points to make it a 9–2 lead for the Orange. The Orange held the lead for the rest of the set and eventually snagged the 25–17 set win. The win marked just the fourth set Syracuse has won against an ACC team.
BC’s performance was due in large part to its .028 hit percentage and eight errors compared to Syracuse’s .225 and four errors. BC likely would have dipped into the negatives if it was not for the performance of Jensen.
“[Jensen] was hitting the ball as well as I’ve ever seen her during warm-ups so I knew at some point [she] was going to be something we needed to win the match. I think we count on her for quite a bit at this point,” Kennedy said.
But the Eagles were not to be deterred for long and they made a comeback in the third set with a 25–12 win.
“I thought the first two sets we could’ve played a little bit cleaner, but I thought [the team’s] performance coming out of that second set was really good,” Kennedy said.
BC was able to rectify their .028 hit percentage to .263 and totaled 14 kills in comparison to Syracuse’s .029 hit percentage with six kills.
The first half of the third set was close, but after a kill from Greta Schlichter made it 11–10, Syracuse hit a wall. The Eagles went on an eight-point score streak and allowed the Orange only two more points in the set.
“Once we were able to free up and just play we were obviously much more effective,” Kennedy said.
The fourth set started with a kill from Grace Miliken, and although Syracuse was quick on the draw with a kill from Sierzant, this early 1–1 tie was the closest the Orange came to BC.
The Orange totaled eight kills, eight errors, and a .000 hit percentage, whereas the Eagles notched 14 kills, two errors, and a whopping .480 hit percentage.
A block from Miliken and Samantha Hoppes followed by a kill from Anna Herrington gave BC their final two points to seize the match at a score of 25–12.
“I think we’ve got to stay ready; everybody’s got to stay ready and know that when their number is called they have to be able to contribute. If we can do that through these last two matches I think we’ll be in a pretty good spot,” Kennedy said.