Santita Ebangwese has made the slide hit her ‘special move’

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on October 9, 2018 at 10:16 pm Contact Adam: adhillma@syr.edu | @_adamhillmancenter_img In the third set against Georgia Tech on Sept. 21, Syracuse led by two points, 21-19. Santita Ebangwese stood a few feet away from the net, staring through the tiny gaps between the polyester string that hold it together. Georgia Tech returned from its timeout conversation, and Ebangwese moved into her natural position, about five feet to the left of fellow senior Jalissa Trotter.The ball flew over the net and junior Kendra Lukacs put two hands under it, thrusting the ball into the air toward Trotter. As Trotter readied herself for a set, Ebangwese stepped back once and then exploded into a sprint. She ran in a straight line, left to right, across the middle of the court and leaped into the air. She lifted her arm over her head and smacked the ball into the feet of a Georgia Tech player for a kill.“No matter how fast, slow, high, low, Santita is going up to hit,” redshirt senior Amber Witherspoon said.Ebangwese is now in the final stretch of her collegiate career for Syracuse (9-5, 5-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) and has almost perfected her form of that hit, the “slide.” She is second on the Orange this season with 127 kills and averages 1.96 kills per set in her career.Ebangwese has worked on the slide hit since her junior year of high school. It’s used to confuse opposing blockers. It begins with a long-strided run-up that starts slow and quickens as the hitter approaches the ball. According to volleyballtoolbox.net, “the hitter should drift forward and horizontally to the ball. This makes it very difficult for the block to know where the point of attack will be.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“That’s definitely her special move,” said associate head coach Erin Little of Ebangwese.Ebangwese has known “for as long as she can remember” how to “hit on the slide,” but in her second to last year of high school, she said she learned “the actual mechanics” of it.At first, she worked on the elevation and speed of her jump. The Rochester native spent hours in the gym to increase her lower-body strength, mostly through conditioning drills. Soon, she was jumping higher and floating through the air longer, she said.“Once I got that down, I started to speed up my approach,” Ebangwese said. “I would do faster sets and see how fast I can go.”By the time she stepped on campus for her freshman year, Ebangwese was already advanced at slide hitting, Little said.During her first year, Ebangwese utilized the slide hit in games, learning where blockers like to position themselves. Continuously, she started on the left side, used two long strides and rose up in front of her setter. While practice is valuable, she needed countless repetition in games to push it to where it is today, Ebangwese said.“I’ve gotten faster. I’ve also gotten smarter in the way hit,” she said. “Before I go up, I know where the blocker is, so I kind of have a feeling of where they’re going to be.”last_img read more