Valeria Salazar guides Syracuse to 6-1 win against Cornell in return from respite

first_imgValeria Salazar stepped up a couple of feet on the court. She dug her feet in, ready for her opponent’s return. The ball came and, as it seemed to be headed toward her partner, Anna Shkudun, Salazar stuck out her racket and deflected the ball to the other side of the court.Salazar yelled “point!” and instantly ran to hug her teammate at the service line. As they walked to the net to shake the opposing team’s hands, they were still holding onto each other with grins on their face.“The last match wasn’t very good and we didn’t play very well the first doubles match either,” Salazar said, “so we were happy that we finally played better.”Despite being down 40-15 in the final game, Salazar and Shkudun were able to string together a comeback. Combined with strong serves and being vocal with one another on the court, the duo was able to give Syracuse (3-0) its first point of the meet. The Orange never looked back, beating Cornell (2-1), 6-1, at Drumlins Country Club on Sunday. Shkudun and Salazar have now played three matches together this season, losing just once.“I think (Valeria and Anna) are one of the best teams in the country. They’re very talented,” head coach Younes Limam said. “They both feed off of each other.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhile she did appear in the doubles match against Liberty yesterday, Salazar sat out during the singles match to rest and ice herself. The day off did not leave her rusty, proving so in her performance on the court on Sunday.“If anything (the day off) helped. I got surgery during the summer. It’s kind of a chronic injury, I can’t do anything about it,” Salazar said. “We were just trying to save myself so I can last throughout the whole season.”After Salazar and Shkudun’s doubles win to put Syracuse ahead of Cornell by a point, Salazar focused on her singles match. In the first set, the game was back-and-forth.The lead fluctuated often and, at times, Salazar made little mistakes to let her opponent creep back in. Other times, the ball landed just out of bounds, and when Cornell’s Dena Tanenbaum raised her finger, Salazar questioned her and became flustered. Whenever a similar situation happened, associate head coach Shelley George was right there to calm down and refocus the junior.“After every point’s over with, you basically say let it go, let’s start over,” George said. “You have to basically start it up each time. It’s just reminding (Valeria). She’s got good habits on the court.”All the fans shifted their attention to the singles match between Salazar and Tanenbaum. The players who had finished, or did not play, crowded around and cheered on each point. The phrases “Go Red!” and “Go Orange” were screamed over and over. Ahead 6-5 on the tiebreak, Salazar hit a return that Tanenbaum failed to hit over the net. Salazar smiled, as Tanenbaum dropped her head down in anger.Salazar finished the game strong and walked away with another singles win to add to this season’s undefeated singles record. The junior has become one of the more reliable options for Limam and Syracuse, as she is penciled in at No. 1 for doubles and No. 2 for singles.“[Valeria] was awesome today. Valeria is a gamer,” George said. “Whatever the situation is, she’s going to give her best effort. Good things come from a fighter like that on the court.” Comments Published on January 31, 2016 at 4:54 pm Contact Charlie: csdistur@syr.edu | @charliedisturco Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more