Superior blocking lifts Syracuse over N.C. State

first_imgEarly in the second set of Sunday’s match, Santita Ebangwese pounded a block back into the N.C. State side, screaming as she embraced her teammates. The very next point, the Wolfpack hitters targeted her, yet again. Her response, a booming block on the NC.. State spike, sent the crowd into a frenzy.The two blocks in a row from Ebangwese started a rally that carried to Orange to a 25-17 victory in the second set. SU (18-7, 9-5 Atlantic Coast) eventually won the match, 3-1, against the Wolfpack (14-12, 3-11) and much of the victory was powered by a great blocking performance on behalf of the Orange.“We’ve always been focusing, and working, on the block,” Syracuse head coach Leonid Yelin said.Ebangwese tallied 12 total blocks in the victory, three of which were solo.“I was able to close the block,” Ebangwese said, “and I was successful in reading which way (the middle hitter) was going today.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textShe said that after the loss on Friday against North Carolina, Ebangwese worked to improve her game, namely her blocking. By watching film and working in practice, Ebangwese was prepared to shine on Sunday.As a vocal leader on the court, the team relies on Ebangwese’s callouts on defense. During the game, she calls out opposing hitters for her teammates, and her yells reverberate through the gym.Every time she was on the court Sunday, Ebangwese yelled numbers and positions, and flashing signs to her teammates.“(Callouts) help me with blocking because then I know, ‘Ok, this player is usually going a one, or a three, or this position,’” Ebangwese said, “And I can do the best of my ability.”The third set was the only time in Sunday’s game when Ebangwese and the other Orange blockers ran into trouble.The N.C. State duo of sophomore hitters Perry Ramsey and Julia Brown started putting balls in the holes the Orange blockers usually kept closed, leading the Wolfpack to a 25-20, set-three victory. It was their only set win of the match.Otherwise, SU’s frontline was strong. Six players on the Orange’s roster tallied at least one solo block, compared to just three players with blocks on the N.C. State side.According to Yelin, every coach has something he’s “crazy about”. For him, that aspect of volleyball is blocking. His teams have traditionally been strong in blocking, and he said it has become somewhat of a trademark for his teams.The 2015 Orange squad boasts one of the top blocking lines in the country. It’s currently ranked No. 11 in the nation and No. 3 in the ACC in blocks, with 2.98 blocks per set. The Orange boasted eight solo blocks and twenty-four block assists in Sunday’s victory.“(Blocking) is a key for defense,” Yelin said, “You can’t even have good defense without a good blocking team.” Comments Published on November 8, 2015 at 5:22 pm Contact Matt: mjfel100@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+last_img