Syracuse struggles without injured veterans in loss to Binghamton
With two key players out due to injury, Syracuse head coach Leonid Yelin had to create a variety of lineups for Wednesday’s home opener against Binghamton.
Sophomore setter Emily Betteridge, who leads the team with 363 assists, watched from the sidelines with her foot in a boot while senior middle blocker Lindsay McCabe was out with an ankle injury.
The two injuries proved costly for the Orange (7-7) down the stretch of its 3-2 loss to Binghamton (3-12) at the Women’s Building. Syracuse jumped out to a two-set lead, but the Bearcats took advantage of McCabe and Betteridge being on the bench to win the final three sets.
“You’re always going to struggle when you have to rearrange things,” assistant coach Stephanie Cantway said. “We tried multiple lineups tonight, so we’re still trying to find that niche.”
Betteridge said she wanted to be on the court to help her team win a game that was in Syracuse’s favor. She believes the Orange lost as a result of more than just the injuries.
“It’s definitely hard being on the bench,” she said. “You want to be in there every point and play for your team, but I don’t think that one person makes a team. I think all of us have worked so hard and we could have won it out there. But unfortunately it didn’t go the way we wanted it to go.”
Freshman Monika Salkute played a vital role in filling in for the injured setters. McCabe said the team needed Salkute to step up when it matters most.
Betteridge noted the depth of the bench, saying role players can be relied on when starters are sidelined with injuries.
“I think that we have a deep bench and we’ll always have people that can go on the court,” Betteridge said. “So I don’t think it was just the two of us that could have made a difference. I think we could have done it together.”
Cantway said the atmosphere for the team’s first home game was overwhelming. The nervous energy led to sloppy play that resulted in losing the final three sets.
The assistant coach said the coaching staff is still trying to build a winning atmosphere in its first season leading the program.
“We just have to believe that when we are up 2-0, the third game is to finish,” Cantway said. “It’s not that you got lucky. You won the first two, you’re ahead 2-0 and it’s time to finish the third.
“I think it’s more of not being used to winning, and that’s what we are trying to develop. You’re up two games to zero and that’s your game to win.”
With Betteridge and McCabe sitting on the bench, Syracuse was forced to test multiple lineups in order to find the best combination for winning. Cantway said the injuries were frustrating but the players must remain confident.
After trying multiple lineups, Yelin said his team has to hang in until McCabe is back.
“(McCabe) is the most talented middle blocker,” he said. “We will overcome this somehow.”
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