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A week after sweeping Pittsburgh for its second win of the season, No. 5 Syracuse (2-2, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) was swept by No. 6 Notre Dame (3-0, 3-0). Saturday’s game was Syracuse’s second loss of the year after the Orange lost to the Fighting Irish 3-1 on Friday night.
Outside hitter Polina Shemanova led the way for the Orange with 15 kills. Her next closest teammate, Ella Saada, only recorded eight. The Orange found it difficult to string points together, especially in the final two sets, as the Notre Dame defense was there to answer many of their attacks.
Syracuse’s best run of the night came in the second set, when the Orange scored five unanswered points to open play. The five points came from a Saada kill, a Shemanova kill, a Notre Dame attack error, a fumbled play and another attack error. Despite this early lead in the set, the Irish came marching back and took the lead at 15-14. The second set eventually went into a deuce, but after a Berkley Hayes service error and a powerful kill from junior Charley Niego, the Irish took the set 26-24.
But that five point run in the second set was the exception. There were three other instances during the match when the Orange scored three points consecutively, but those were their only streaks. The Fighting Irish had nine runs of three or more points during the game, while Syracuse only managed four.
Caroline Meuth led the Fighting Irish, recording 17 kills and serving as a constant blocking threat in the front row. Meuth was dominant early in the game, as the sophomore recorded her tenth kill by just the 14-14 mark of the second set. Niego was right behind with 15 kills and an ace midway through the second set.
Notre Dame also had strong play at the service line, as the Fighting Irish recorded five aces. Libero Hattie Monson was a rock in the back court, scoring three aces with an evasive float serve that constantly gave the Syracuse receivers trouble. Two of Monson’s aces came off back-to-back serves in the third set, which gave Notre Dame a 17-10 lead.
At the service line, Syracuse struggled, with Marina Markova scoring Syracuse’s only two aces. A serve rarely, if ever, troubled the Notre Dame defense to the point where they could no longer string together an effective attack.
The Orange will look to get back over .500 next weekend when they travel to Louisville for two games against the Cardinals.
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