Santita Ebangwese keys Syracuse volleyball’s 5-set win over Wake Forest

Sabrina Koenig | Staff Photographer

Santita Ebangwese helped spark Syracuse's five-set win over Wake Forest on Friday night.

With the game on the line, Syracuse kept feeding Santita Ebangwese and she delivered. Off a set from one of her teammates, Ebangwese flew over and pounded the ball right through Wake Forest’s front line.

When the ball hit the ground, she screamed in celebration. The kill gave the Orange its first win in three games.

Ebangwase had been dominant all game. In the final set, she broke out scoring four of the teams last five points on kills.

Syracuse (6-15, 5-6 Atlantic Coast) beat Wake Forest (9-13, 5-6) in a five-set match in the Women’s Building on Friday night. Ebangwese led the way for SU with 16 kills and a dominant fifth-set performance.

Ebangwese was influential from the start, though. In the first set, she leapt high, got under the ball and lofted one into the back right corner of the court. The ball dropped and gave Syracuse a one-point lead at the end of the set, which it eventually won.

“The first set most of my kills were tips in the right spot,” Ebangwese said, “I kept tipping and tipping and said, ‘Let’s get a hit in there.’ Just to let them I can hit as well as tip so they respect that too.”

Aside from leading the team in kills, she finished with no errors and a .640 hit percentage.

She was a vocal leader on and off the court, getting just as fiery for a teammates success as her own. She communicated orders, helped teammates get set up and belted out yells to celebrate points SU won.

“Santita’s crazy on the court, after she gets a kill or a block she’s going crazy,” teammate Belle Sand said. “Teams that are energetic, it carries throughout the entire team, I think everyone feels her excitement.”

Ebangwese’s play elevated the Orange, head coach Leonid Yelin said. The individual hitting percentages were one of the biggest weaknesses to take away from SU’s victory Friday night.

“It’s hard to believe we overcame it,” Said Coach Yelin, “I don’t remember (when it’s ever happened) and we still (won).”

But Yelin did acknowledge Ebangwese’s play. She was one of two players on the Orange to surpass 10 kills (Anastasiya Gorelina had 11) and had the most total attack attempts without an error on the team.

Yelin said her hot streak was due to a change in strategy.

“Lately we’ve been playing safe,” Yelin said, “It felt like if we started feeding Santita in the middle they were not ready for it.”


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