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In the middle of the second set, Polina Shemanova served the ball right down the center of the court. Albany (1-2, 0-0) didn’t move to defend it, and watched it hit the ground just inside the backline as Shemanova recorded her second ace of the game. Three points later, Shemanova hit the exact same style serve, and this time the Great Danes’ libero Anna Chalupa digged it but Albany couldn’t get the ball over the net on the second hit.
Syracuse (3-0) defeated Albany in three sets, completing the sweep of the tournament field that featured UConn (1-2) and Buffalo (1-2) as well. Against Albany, Syracuse recorded six aces, while having nine and four against Buffalo and UConn, respectively.
Shemanova — Syracuse’s team leader in aces — led SU with three in Saturday’s game, while recording one each in the earlier matchups. Markova scored three against Buffalo as well as one against UConn. Markova also hits a similar top spin style of serve as Shemanova, which created difficulty for Albany to defend and set up an attack. Both players were named to the preseason All-Atlantic Coast Conference Team, and played in the first games for SU this weekend since last fall due to visa complications.
“That was the goal for this year,” head coach Leonid Yelin said of Shemanova’s serve .“She was doing (that style of serve) in last year and the year before. It just got a little bit more powerfully and a little bit more consistent. She had to know how strong to go.”
On Tuesday in the pre-tournament press conference, Shemanova said she was hoping to improve her serve this season.
“Personally, I’ve been really working hard on my serve,” Shemanova said. “I’m serving top spin which is hopefully going to work this season.”
Throughout the match against Albany, Shemanova’s top spin serve created difficulty for the Great Danes to receive it and set up an attack. Twice, Albany didn’t even attempt to defend the serve because it appeared it was going out of bounds, but the ball landed just inside the backlines.
“When you are trying to improve an individual skill, you can work as many times as you can,” Shemanova said. “You don’t need any teammates. You can come to the gym anytime and do some drills.”
Besides Shemanova, Elena Karakasi, Yuliia Yastrub, and Viktoriia Lokmanchuk also recorded aces in the victory.
The Orange will travel to New Haven, Connecticut to play Yale, Hartford and Quinnipiac next weekend. SU also has nonconference tournaments at Iowa and Mississippi State and two conference games against Boston College and Duke before returning home. SU returns home on Oct. 1 when it plays Wake Forest, in its home ACC- opener.
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