VB : Freshmen stand out in perfect opening weekend for SU

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Jing Pu rarely showed excitement during his team’s win over Sacred Heart on Friday. But ask him about his newest players and the Syracuse head coach can’t hide his enthusiasm.For Pu, beating a 2010 NCAA tournament team in Sacred Heart was even sweeter with nine new faces on the roster.‘We won with nine new freshmen,’ Pu said. ‘Impressive, right?’It’s hard for the coaching staff to check its enthusiasm for the freshman class, which makes up half the team. And many of the freshmen made key contributions as SU won the Big Orange Tournament over the weekend.Freshman outside hitter Ying Shen sparked Syracuse in a comeback win Saturday against Youngstown State. After not playing the first two sets, Shen recorded eight kills in the last three sets and added a pair of service aces.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textHer effort caught the attention of Orange assistant coach Kelly Morrisroe.‘Sometimes you wonder if the lessons we teach sink in for the freshmen, and then you see something like that and you know you’re doing something right as a coach,’ Morrisroe said.Shen isn’t the only freshman to make the transition to college volleyball look easy at this early stage in the season. Freshmen outside hitters Andrea Fisher and Nicolette Serratore also saw significant playing time.Serratore is looking to make the most of her opportunity.‘They know that the more I play, the better I can be,’ Serratore said. ‘I think that holds true for all of us.’Julia Mindlina, a freshman defensive specialist, just wants to do her part when Pu calls her number. She said she just wants to help the program win.But sophomore Lindsay McCabe said helping the team win and balancing a new college life away from home can be tricky. With a year of experience, she understands what the freshmen are going through.‘It’s like two whole new worlds open up to you,’ McCabe said. ‘I’m just thankful I had the upperclassmen on the team last season to rely on — they really helped me transition and adapt to what life is like now.’But the freshman class has less experience to lean on in the locker room this year — only six upperclassmen are on the roster.That doesn’t mean rookies will seek out veterans less, said freshman Fisher, who contributed with ten kills in the comeback win against Youngstown State.Morrisroe said they’ll find their niche at school and on the court.‘We have a young team, but the great part is these girls will mature together over the next four years,’ Morrisroe said.And that’s something Mindlina is looking forward to experiencing. Four freshmen, including Mindlina, saw time on the court in Syracuse’s season opening win over Sacred Heart, a game Pu said was a good test against an NCAA tournament team.‘I can’t wait until our senior season, when we have years of practice and games together,’ Mindlina said. ‘It’s going to be so much fun playing with these girls.’[email protected]center_img Published on August 28, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nicktoneytweetslast_img