Syracuse volleyball’s Belle Sand provides path for improvement for Syracuse

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ When SU junior Belle Sand hits the floor hard to get a dig, requests a floor cleaner to wipe up the spot, and hoists herself up for the next serve, she often hears the same question, “Oh my god how did you get (that)?” “That’s what I have to be ready for,” she said with a smile on her face. Unlike her position of libero, loaded with uncertainty on every play, Sand has been one of the constants on a 1-6 Syracuse team battling to find winning combinations of players. She’s aiming to finish the season top five in the Atlantic Coast Conference in digs per set and her mark of 3.54 currently puts her right outside top 10.Within the composition of Syracuse’s team, her role is central when it’s unable to block shots. Her alternate colored jersey is almost continuously on the court and unlike the rest of the roster, with opportunities present everywhere, Sand had to focus on solidifying herself as the libero. “Libero on every team is a big part of the team she’s a primary passer, she’s a primary digger,” Yelin said, “and I would say one of the most important positions on the team. Belle is a very, very good player.” AdvertisementThis is placeholder textFor two years, volunteer coach Deion Burks has helped Sand pay specific attention to the intricacies of libero. She had to assert herself ahead of other players, but Yelin saw her game centered around passing and digging. Once with Burks, she knew what she had to focus and could do it repeatedly until she became a regular in Syracuse’s rotation.“The hitter’s arm will tell you exactly what she is doing,” Sand said. “So a lot of our defensive drills are focusing on watching the arm and staying forward. We’re just doing defense left and right, always hitting the floor.”The poor start will not define Syracuse’s season, Sand said, and what’s important is the repetitions. Yelin looks at his team as one that has to develop a personality of fearlessness and said Sand is someone the rest of the roster can look to.“She’s very intense, she knows her position very well” freshman outsider hitter Mackenzie Weaver said. “She’s been playing it for two years, I learn from her and she gives me really good pointers in practice.”During the Nebraska Tournament on Sept. 2-3, Sand’s performance reflected the gap between her play and the Orange’s. She was selected alongside four Nebraska Cornhuskers, the top-ranked team in the country, on the all-tournament team while SU dropped all six sets it played in Lincoln. The selection was an honor, Sand said, but “that’s not the final point I want to be at. I want to keep pushing.”Fifty-four percent of the 24 sets SU has played in have featured both teams entering the 20s. Despite situations where contests could go either way, Syracuse has only taken down its opponent five times. Sand is a mainstay in those situations and for the Orange, she’s the one teammates can benefit from emulating. Not overthinking, just executing.“That’s definitely what we’re trying to develop,” Yelin said. “How quick it will come out, I wish I would know.” Comments Published on September 12, 2016 at 10:54 pm Contact Bobby: rpmannin@syr.edulast_img