Return of Nicolette Serratore evens out distribution on Syracuse front line

first_imgSilvi Uattara, Nicolette Serratore and Monika Salkute have commanded the front line for Syracuse this season. The trio leads the Orange in kills, but the dynamic was different a season ago.Serratore missed all of last year with a foot injury, altering the Orange’s front-line plans. With her absence, Uattara had to shoulder a heavier load and led SU in both kills and digs last season — notching 100 more kills than any other player on the team.However, in her return, Serratore has led Syracuse in kills for most of the season and is now five behind Salkute’s 222.“It’s really exciting,” Uattara said. “… We have one more experienced player back. We didn’t have to use another freshman.”Head coach Leonid Yelin said it was very important to get one of his best defensive players back in Serratore, who in addition to her kills production, is second on the team in digs with 202. The Orange’s 14.86 digs per set is up more than one compared to last season.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“You’re talking about a senior coming back,” Yelin said. “… It’s leadership, experience, it means everything.”Gosia Wlaszczuk, who Yelin has called the “quarterback” of the team, couldn’t wait to have her “other Silvi back,” referring to Serratore. Uattara’s average kills per set has dropped to 2.73 and she is on pace for 300 fewer attempts than last season. But Serratore said it wasn’t about about taking attempts away from Uattara.Wlaszczuk said that she’s constantly looking at the hit distribution chart and speaking with Yelin, making sure that she is feeding all of the hitters equally and finding the hitter with the hot hand.“It makes it easier when you have five people who are ready to finish,” Wlaszczuk said. “I’m just glad that all of my hitters are playing at a high level and I know I can play with whoever I want to.”With Serratore back and the addition of freshman Santita Ebangwese, the team has averaged over a kill and a half more than last season per set.While Uattara said she felt great last season as the leader up front, Serratore felt like in 2014, there was a lot of pressure on Uattara.“It’s really hard to maintain such a high level of play for all the games,” Serratore said. “Now I’m back … (and) it’s less about taking attempts away from Silvi, but it’s just allowing (Gosia) to have more options.”Both Uattara and Yelin said they never worried about fatigue or injury last season because of her increased workload. However, this season Yelin said Uattara has dealt with occasional back issues.She’s been able to push through games to round out a Syracuse front line featuring a quartet of seniors.“They expect even more than I expect from them,” Yelin said. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 27, 2015 at 10:06 pm Contact Jack: jfupton@syr.edulast_img