Mental mistakes cost Syracuse in loss to North Carolina State

first_imgAfter Syracuse lost to North Carolina State to fall to 5-11 and 0-4 in the Atlantic Coast Conference, head coach Leonid Yelin was as frustrated as ever.Part of the reason for his frustration is the lack of care the team seems to exhibit after losses like this. After the team’s two-minute meeting, following its 3-1 defeat, players talked to each other, smiling and laughing.This has been noticeable in many of the team’s losses this season.“Fifteen minutes later you can go and just see outside and take a picture,” Yelin said. “I guarantee 15 people are joking and smiling like it’s not a big deal. They look so pissed over there. That’s bullsh*t. You not even good actors.”Yelin said the reason they acted upset during the game is because they have eyes on them, but once the crowd is gone they act like it is not a big deal.After Syracuse’s many performances this season, during which several players on the team have shown a lack of mental toughness, including its losses to North Carolina State (12-4, 3-1) and No. 11 North Carolina (15-0, 4-0), Yelin is starting to wonder if some of these players will ever be able to turn around and stay mentally tough for an entire match.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThat was reflected on Sunday with junior captain Nicolette Serratore. Since ACC play opened last week against Florida State, teams have targeted Serratore to receive the serve and she has struggled. In Sunday’s matchup against N.C. State, the first serve the Wolfpack hit was right to Serratore, who again botched the return.Eventually, her struggles forced Yelin to bench her for a sizable chunk of the match.“If you’re going put us in a hole it doesn’t even matter how good you’re playing after that,” Yelin said. “We cannot dig out.”Serratore’s reaction to Yelin when he pulled her further reflects the lack of mental toughness she came out with against N.C. State.“I took her out in the first game, give her break,” Yelin said. “I said, ‘What’s going on with you?’ She said, ‘Oh my God, I don’t know there’s so much in my head.’”At this point Yelin is unsure if some of the players on his team will ever be able to play at a high level for as long as it takes. Part of the issue is the inability of the team so far to recruit top Americans.Part of the reason for this struggle stems from what is going on now: it’s hard to convince players to attend a college that has a losing record like the Orange’s, Yelin said. Not only that, but SU’s locker rooms are run-down and resemble a high school’s more than an ACC university’s.“You cannot go to Kentucky Derby with a mule,” Yelin said. “I don’t care how good you train. You can work so hard with a mule, you’re not going to beat racehorse. That’s our job. Get the horse first, and then train her right.”While a majority of the players on the team have consistently struggled throughout the year, Silvi Uattara has seemed to turn her play around in areas like the serve and receive game, which she was struggling with early in the season.She was clearly the Orange’s best player on the court on Sunday, finishing with a team-high of 17 kills and also recording three blocks. Yelin specifically mentioned her as one of the few players on the team he is impressed with.“I was fighting the same,” Uattara said. “I was trying to stay the same all the games. I just don’t know what to say really.”Junior captain Lindsay McCabe does not know what they can do at this point to fix the team’s flaws.“I can’t tell you the reason,” McCabe said. “I don’t know. I wish I knew, because then we could solve it.” Comments Published on October 7, 2013 at 12:01 am Contact Ryan: [email protected] Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

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