Gabriela Knutson and Miranda Ramirez end four-match losing streak against Louisville in 5-2 SU win

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Sprinting to the right corner of the court, Gabriela Knutson attempted a backhand over the shoulder volley shot to save the point. She hit the bottom of the net.Syracuse head coach Younes Limam jumped from his seated position and threw his hands up, directed toward No. 37 Knutson and Miranda Ramirez, who were down 0-2. A coach who rarely shows emotion toward his players during matches displayed a slight flash of fury in a desperate attempt at motivation.At the match’s next stoppage time, Limam pulled Knutson and Ramirez together and told them to keep their aggression up against Louisville’s No. 51 Abbie Pahz and Mariana Humberg. Limam told them they were playing the right way, it just wasn’t paying off early, Knutson said. After the 90-second exchange, Limam looked over to the opposing bench, changed his tone and said, “Great game, good job,” in the direction of the U of L players.“I wanted them to just hang in there,” Limam said, “If they stuck to the game plan, it would work out.”Knutson and Ramirez responded by taking six of the final seven games to end their four-match losing streak and help Syracuse (12-3, 4-3 Atlantic Coast) take the doubles point en route to a 5-2 win over Louisville (13-5, 3-4). The win marks the pair’s first doubles win since March 2 after starting the season with seven straight victories.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBefore Sunday’s match, Limam said Knutson and Ramirez “needed to get more confident playing together” and work more as a team. After losing to four straight opponents currently ranked in the top 60, Knutson and Ramirez needed to change their ways against No. 48 Louisville’s top pairing.The match opened with shaky net play from both Knutson and Ramirez. Down 30-15 in the first game, Knutson and Ramirez missed back-to-back close volleys to drop serve.After splitting the next two games, Pahz and Humberg played two back defense on serves in an attempt to throw Knutson and Ramirez off. At 2-2, Pahz hit low forehands directed toward Ramirez. After sinking two straight shots into the net to go down 3-2, Ramirez found her groove near the net which opened the door for Knutson to break through.Knutson opened the sixth game with an easy volley winner after three consecutive off-balance shots high in the air which got the crowd into the match.Later in that game, Knutson had a chance to close the game, up 40-15, on a misfired ball from Humberg, but hit the net instead. Knutson threw her hands up and kicked the ricocheted ball into the net. Limam looked over toward her and motioned his hands up and down, attempting to calm her down.“You’re going to have ups and downs,” Limam said, “It’s tennis, but credit to the other team, they hung on awhile.”Despite the small moment of frustration from Knutson, the Orange won the next two games, and led 4-3. During a time of stoppage, Limam told the pair not to panic and sticking to the plan, he said, because U of L would try to throw them off.At the start of the eighth game of the match, Humberg attempted a drop serve, a move rarely used in college tennis, but Ramirez responded with a quick volley to the right corner of the court.“It was really strange,” Knutson said, “I kind of took it as a little bit of disrespect, but I’m just happy we could overcome (Pahz and Humberg’s tactics).”Leading up to match point at 5-3, Humberg motioned toward the umpire to lower the crowd noise in frustration. After a warning was issued to the crowd of nearly 50 people at Drumlins Country Club, U of L’s last-ditch effort ended when Ramirez swung a ball toward the back endline to close out the match, 6-3.Ramirez and Knutson won SU’s first doubles match of the day, and the Orange picked up the doubles point after it dropping it in two previous matches.“We did better than we did the last few matches,” Knutson said, “It’s not the best we can do, but I think we’re definitely on the right track.” Comments Published on March 25, 2018 at 4:08 pm Contact KJ: kjedelma@syr.edu | @KJEdelmanlast_img read more

Inside Dino Babers’ 3 rules for Syracuse football

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Josh Black was standing in line for a sandwich in the Iocolano-Petty Football Wing cafeteria last season when he heard Dino Babers scream his last name. Black forgot to put socks on and wandered in wearing just Nike slides on his feet.“I was like, ‘Oh what did I do now?’” Black said, recalling the incident. “I turn around, he just kind of stares at me and looks down. And I was like, ‘I’m sorry coach.’”“Yeah you are,” Black remembers Babers replying.Black served his punishment — the usual push-ups — on the spot while Babers hovered over him. When Black went to put socks on, someone threw his sandwich away.“I probably did at least 35 before he told me I could get up,” Black said. “Usually it’s 10. Usually it’s just some slap on the wrist. But he was feeling some certain way that day …  I don’t even wear sandals in the cafeteria anymore.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBlack had broken one of the rules that have governed Syracuse’s program since Babers’ arrival in December 2015. They’re of his own creation, he said, and govern far more than football. And though there is no one method to creating a strong locker room — a group that stayed close knit amid SU’s (4-6, 1-5 Atlantic Coast) four-game losing skid — Babers’ three main rules are a good start.They are, in order — and the order is important to Babers:Don’t steal.Don’t lie.And use common sense.“Ever try to eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich but you really don’t like the crust?” Babers asked rhetorically. “There are some people that cut off the crust — I like the crust — but they’ll cut all the crust off and eat the middle part. That’s kind of how the rules are. There’s a lot of rules you can have, but if you want to be really good with the rules, you limit them.”The first two rules might be obvious, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been broken. On Dec. 26, 2016, two freshmen — Jaquwan Nelson and Devon Clarke — stole several items from a South Campus apartment. When they were arrested the following February, both were suspended from all team activities. Clarke was eventually reinstated in July and is still on the team while Nelson is no longer with the program.It’s one of the few times in Babers’ nearly four years that either Rule No. 1 or No. 2 has been broken. Far more common are the many different ways “use common sense” manifests. It is, Babers stressed, more complex than the three base rules.“I think because they’re very, very easy and simple,” Babers said, “it shows how complex it is to be in a family, on a football team. But if you can’t handle these three things, you can’t handle the complexity.”Two days after backup quarterback Clayton Welch connected with sophomore wideout Taj Harris for a 94-yard touchdown in a loss to Pittsburgh this season, Babers said both players showed a lot of “Rule No. 3.”Welch and Harris flashed their common sense on the long touchdown — Welch stepped back and bought extra time in the pocket and Harris knew to high step out of the tackle of a diving defender after the catch. On that play, “Rule No. 3” caused a touchdown.“I was really excited to see him down that,” Babers said.Syracuse has plenty of other detailed rules that Babers enforces. You aren’t allowed to wear a plain white T-shirt in the football wing. If someone enters the cafeteria there, they need to be wearing socks or closed toed shoes and their shirt must have sleeves. Hoods can’t be worn inside at all and hats must be taken off at the table. Players aren’t allowed to have any food or drink — not even water — during team meetings.Babers enters meetings right after strength coach Sean Edinger and it’s often between Edinger’s entrance and Babers arrival that someone rushes from the back of the auditorium to fling a cup of water in the trash in time.There’s a lot of rules you can have, but if you want to be really good with the rules, you limit them.Dino BabersWhile Babers has his three specific rules, everything — including the extensive list of detailed rules beyond the main trio — ultimately can fall under the purview of Rule No. 3.“Whether it be football, school,” Black said, “whether you’re going out for a weekend, ‘Oh yeah, have common sense.’ You’re representing the family when you’re out. Usually when you break one of the rules, you break Rule No. 3.”Almost every Syracuse player has had some similar experience to Black’s last season and because of that, Babers’ culture has taken root. Players do as much, if not more, policing than Babers. If defensive lineman KJ Ruff sees someone sitting with their hood on or earbuds in, he’ll subtly motion for his teammate to shape up. It helps that they can be singled out to recite the three rules, in order, at any given time. Freeze up or get it wrong? Push-ups.It’s a system of accountability, a clearly established set of expectations of his players from the first day. And as desired, it has come to govern much more than football and reach beyond just the three pillars Babers specifically touts.“You have to remember three very important things that apply to everything,” Black said. Comments Published on November 19, 2019 at 9:40 pm Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Grahamlast_img read more