Seniors reflect on end of careers after up-and-down volleyball season

first_img Published on November 15, 2010 at 12:00 pm Contact Rachel: rnmarcus@syr.edu Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img The score read 24-13 in favor of Louisville. It was the fourth set, and the Cardinals were one point away from winning the match and ending the season for the Syracuse volleyball team and its three seniors on Senior Day. It was clear the Orange wasn’t going to win this one. Louisville was just too tough. And even though slight hope could be felt throughout the stands and on the sideline, reality began to creep in. The season was over. There would be no miraculous comeback. For the three seniors on the team, this was the end. ‘We played with a lot of heart,’ senior Hayley Todd said. ‘We just sort of ran out of steam. That’s not the way you want it to go.’ Standing alongside the Syracuse bench as the game ended, fellow senior Mindy Stanislovaitis began to tear up. The Sunday afternoon game against Louisville would be her final game wearing a Syracuse volleyball jersey. And to have it end at home, without qualifying for the Big East tournament, was tough. Stanislovaitis tried her best. She had 13 kills to lead the team against the Cardinals. ‘I’m glad that Mindy finished with this game today,’ assistant coach Carol LaMarche said. ‘She really picked it up today, got some good kills and was a good leader out there for us, and I thought she did well.’AdvertisementThis is placeholder text But it wasn’t enough to extend the season. Five wins in Big East play won’t cut it, even if the team did finish with 23 total wins. After the game, Stanislovaitis reflected on her finale. ‘Just go out and play hard,’ Stanislovaitis said of her mindset toward the game. ‘It’s my last shot. Have to do all I can do.’ Stanislovaitis, Todd and fellow senior Sarah Hayes did all they could do this season. The trio led Syracuse to a program record 17-0 start and finished the season 23-9. But they could not extend that play into the Big East, leading to the team’s failure to qualify for the Big East tournament. Todd, Hayes and Stanislovaitis were not just senior role players. They were three of the best players on the team. Todd finished the season second in kills (317) and third in blocks (72). Stanislovaitis was third in kills (232), and Hayes was third in digs (221). Todd’s consistent smackdown of kills, Hayes’ knack for digs in the backcourt and Stanislovaitis’ energy and kills of her own proved to be assets the team will miss next year. ‘They’ve been consistent players for us all season and great leaders,’ LaMarche said. ‘(Head coach Jing Pu) and I can really rely on them to be ready game day. We’re going to miss them next year.’ But it wasn’t just their on-court performances that showed their value. It was the little things, too. Hayes could always be seen verbally cheering on her teammates from the bench. If Todd was on the bench, she would be jumping up and down every time someone on the team made a play. The same energy was brought by Stanislovaitis. These seniors were not just leaders on the court. They took charge on the sidelines, during practice and wherever else the team needed support. ‘We’ve relied a lot on them this year,’ LaMarche said of the three. Next year, the team won’t have Hayes’ dancing antics on the sideline. Or Todd and Stanislovaitis’ jumping and cheering. The seniors, and the mark they left on the program, will be gone. ‘There’s three spots that need to be filled now,’ LaMarche said. ‘They’re key players for us.’ Three big spots on all sides of the ball. And on the sidelines, too. Said LaMarche: ‘They’re just great kids, and it’s fun to watch them go through four years and finish their careers well.’ rnmarcus@syr.edulast_img

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