Published on October 14, 2014 at 12:10 am Contact Jon: firstname.lastname@example.org | @jmettus Facebook Twitter Google+ When freshman Dana Crispi came to Syracuse on her first recruiting visit for the volleyball team in 2013, it was to a game in the Carrier Dome against Georgia Tech.“I Instagrammed a picture,” Crispi said. “It was like really cool to see the big court on the end zone. I thought that was an awesome experience.”But she didn’t know that many of the players didn’t like playing there. They weren’t comfortable in the Carrier Dome and it felt almost like playing an away game.Head coach Leonid Yelin started the games in the iconic venue as a recruiting tool when he came to Syracuse in 2012. But after taking his players’ dissatisfaction into account as well as the improvements at the Women’s Building, he and those running the Carrier Dome decided to move the three games scheduled for the Carrier Dome this season back to the Women’s Building — including two games scheduled for this upcoming weekend.Yelin came to Syracuse to not just coach volleyball, but also to rebuild an entire program. He thought playing games in the Carrier Dome would impress recruits when they came to visit.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“It only was to bring somebody to that game,” Yelin said. “… Everybody in the nation knows what’s in (the) Dome. ‘Wow,’ you know? … Girls, they (are) still in high school, they come and they see those pictures and they can see themselves (playing there) too and they kind of like it.”For the players on the team, it was a different story.The ceiling in the Carrier Dome is over 100 feet higher than the Women’s Building’s ceiling and with capacity for 30,000 more people than the players are used to, it feels emptier than it is.It’s like playing outside, Yelin said, and it gives opponents who normally play in a basketball arena an advantage.The transition between the Carrier Dome and the Women’s Building is tough on the whole team, especially the younger players, said setter Gosia Wlaszczuk, because they usually only have one practice in the Dome before they play a game there.In the Women’s Building, Wlaszczuk said, the team knows the particular points on the court and can intuitively tell when a ball is going to go out — a luxury it doesn’t have in the Dome.“We want to have advantage of our own court,” Wlaszczuk said. “We want to feel comfortable. We want to play like we’re playing home … It’s (a) popular dome, but it’s not our home court.”The reputation of the Women’s Building in the volleyball community couldn’t be worse, Yelin said, but he’s working on changing it.In 2012, the floor was repainted for $26,000, Yelin said, and the gym was outfitted with a new LED scoreboard. Banners with pictures of each player and the coach were hung in the windows behind the benches.“Our Women’s Building, it looks so different now from what it was,” Yelin said. “You getting inside. It’s dressed up pretty good … We (are) not ashamed to bring now in recruits who (are) going to come and they like it. And this is all about them. It’s all about them. If they like it.”Yelin still hopes to get new chairs for the players and coaches on the bench, instead of the old ones they currently use that still bear the name “Orangemen.”But now he’s willing to play all his home games in the Women’s Building, which he said is “nice enough.”Said Yelin: “We’re not losing anything, but we are gaining this home-court advantage because we’re used to this gym.” Comments
Linebacker Su’a Cravens was among four Trojans chosen in the 2016 NFL Draft. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanFour Trojans were drafted and seven more signed as undrafted free agents in another busy NFL Draft for the football team.The draft took place in Chicago and spanned three days — Thursday through Saturday.Linebacker Su’a Cravens topped the list of USC entries into the NFL, drafted 53rd overall by the Washington Redskins in the second round. Cravens, one of the Trojans’ most reliable and versatile defensive players as a hybrid safety-linebacker, leaves a big hole on the defensive line.Thirteen picks later, center Max Tuerk was selected by the San Diego Chargers 66th overall in the third round. Tuerk, who started since his freshman year at USC, missed the last nine games last season with a torn ACL.Quarterback Cody Kessler also went in third round 93rd overall to the Cleveland Browns, a much higher selection than expected. Kessler may see playing time in Cleveland at some point down the line and will look to aid a franchise with well-documented struggles at the quarterback position.Cornerback Kevon Seymour wrapped up the Trojans’ draftees, having to wait until the sixth round to hear his name called. Seymour will join the Buffalo Bills, who picked him 218th overall.Developments did not stop there, however, as seven Trojans — as of Saturday night — have signed with NFL teams as undrafted free agents: fullback Soma Vainuka to the Houston Texans, running back Tre Madden to the Seattle Seahawks, defensive lineman Antwaun Woods to the Tennessee Titans, defensive lineman Claude Pelon to the New York Jets, defensive lineman Delvon Simmons and linebacker Anthony Sarao to the Indianapolis Colts and defensive lineman Greg Townsend to the Oakland Raiders.With four draftees, the Trojans remain on top of the NCAA with most all-time NFL draft picks (496), three more than Notre Dame (493).