VB : Young players make key contributions in SU’s victory over Colgate

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact David: [email protected] | @DBWilson2 Commentscenter_img Trying to return volley, Emily Betteridge collided with Samantha Hinz going for the ball in the first set for Syracuse, handing Colgate a point. The early-match jitters from Betteridge, who made her first career start, were apparent.But as the match went on, SU coaches and players were impressed with the way the freshman played overall at middle setter.‘She really did a great job,’ assistant coach Kelly Morrisroe said. ‘I’m excited for her future. I think she did a great job for our offense tonight.’When Syracuse took the court against Colgate, its lineup looked a little different than usual. Absent from the starting lineup was Laura Homann, who had started every game at middle setter in this season. In her place was a freshman, Betteridge, making her first career start and playing in just her second career set. Homann played the second two sets of Syracuse’s 3-0 sweep of the Raiders on Wednesday, but the SU offense wasn’t any less stable without her. Betteridge contributed 16 assists in just one set to Homann’s 25 over two.‘I got notice that I was going to play a little bit before, so it was good,’ Betteridge said. ‘I was able to not be too nervous. I thought it went well.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAnd Betteridge wasn’t the only Orange (12-6, 2-1 Big East) bench player who got a rare chance to shine against the Raiders (6-12, 3-1 Patriot League). The nonconference matchup in the middle of the Big East season allowed SU to mix and match lineups. Coming into the game, Samantha Clarey, Jade Zhao and Margaret Darling had all played six or fewer sets this season. All three played one Wednesday.‘It’s always good to be out there with your teammates and have them support you and come off the bench and have the rest of the teammates support you,’ said Clarey, who played in the third set at outside hitter. ‘It’s really great. They’re always here for you.’The new faces on the court are a product of one of the deepest benches in the Big East. SU boasts a roster of 18 players, half of which are freshman. Colgate, by comparison, carries 14 players on its roster.In a sport in which only six players are on the court at a time and players often play entire games, Syracuse’s talented bench — particularly the talented freshman class — hasn’t had the opportunities to prove itself.But it did Wednesday.‘We have such a large roster,’ Morrisroe said. ‘We’ve got a lot of freshmen, a lot of good freshmen. … Some of the players that we have on our bench are solid girls. They work hard every day in practice, so anytime that we can get them an opportunity to play in a match we absolutely want to do that.’And the Orange’s deep bench will be particularly important when SU returns to Big East play Friday against Villanova at 7 p.m. in the Women’s Building. The Wildcats are undefeated in the Big East thus far, and if their match against Syracuse is at all like the Orange’s last two home matches, the bench could play a crucial role again.Two weeks ago, SU’s match against South Florida went five sets. The Orange played just nine players for the entire match and ultimately fell to the Bulls after holding a two-set lead.The match against Colgate lasted just three sets, but Syracuse had no reservations using its bench, as the Orange called on 14 players in three close sets. SU needed 26 points in all three sets to win.‘The bench does a lot,’ Clarey said. ‘They have to stay up for the whole game, and it’s good when you come off the game play and come off to a really excited bench. It really keeps up your momentum.’But most importantly, SU needs to be sure to carry the momentum from its 20th consecutive victory over Colgate into its match against Villanova. The Wildcats sit in a five-way tie atop the Big East standings and have won their last two conference matches without dropping a set.SU also takes on Georgetown on Sunday at 2 p.m. in the Women’s Building.‘It’s going to be a fight, it’s going to be a battle,’ Clarey said. ‘I know we’re going to play our hardest, and we’ll see where our hardest gets us.’[email protected]last_img