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In Syracuse’s first set against Mississippi State, the Bulldogs’ right side hitter Gabby Waden hit a booming kill to make the score 24-23 in favor of the Orange. But Syracuse knew Marina Markova’s deadly spikes were working, so they went to it again. Setter Elena Karakasi fed Markova a perfect pass, and the junior leapt up for the swat. Mississippi State defenders blocked the attempt and the ball immediately returned to Syracuse’s side. The Orange decided to give Markova another shot, and Karakasi quickly set up the outside hitter again. This time, Markova spiked the ball to the center of the court and earned the kill to win the first set.
Markova set a career-high with 22 kills in Syracuse’s 3-1 win. Although she had a bit of a slow start, outside hitter Polina Shemanova finished with 13 kills, 10 digs and two service aces. Karakasi led the Orange in assists with 40.
The first set was close throughout, and at one point Markova’s five kills accounted for almost half of Syracuse points. Shemanova got started with two kills on the far side of the court, both set up by sharp cross-court passes. Markova took half of the total attempts in the first set as Syracuse narrowly won 25-23.
SU struggled to start the second set, surrendering the first four points to Mississippi State. During a stretch in the middle of the set, seven out of eight plays ended in kills. Karakasi stepped up for two kills that perfectly found a soft spot in the defense. The set ended with a crossbody kill to the middle of the court by Abby Casiano, followed by an attack error by Bulldogs’ middle blocker Deja Robinson. The Orange took the second set 25-18.
Although the Orange had been down at the start of every set, they were stuck in an 18-7 hole to open the third set. A particularly bad stretch saw three errors in a row that gave Mississippi State a six-point advantage. Shemanova and Markova had their weakest set, combining for just three kills in a 25-12 set loss.
In the final set, Shemanova jumped up for a a serve that knocked over the defender trying to field it. Shemanova had four serves in a row that led to Syracuse points, including a service ace. After several Markova kills, the Orange had a 13-8 lead, but the Bulldogs tied it at 14. Both teams traded kills, but Markova tied and broke her kills record on consecutive plays to give SU a 26-25 lead. Syracuse couldn’t convert on its first two match points, but after a Casiano kill and an attack error, the Orange took the final set 28-26 and the match 3-1.
Syracuse is now 9-1 this season, with upcoming games against Jackson State and South Alabama.
The post Marina Markova records career-high 22 kills in 3-1 win over Mississippi State appeared first on The Daily Orange.