VB : Little supported by former high school team in crowd at Friday’s match

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Comments Published on November 15, 2011 at 12:00 pm Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nicktoneytweetscenter_img Before her second-to-last home match at Syracuse, Erin Little couldn’t help but laugh at the loud crowd reaction when she was introduced. During her four-year career, the stands in the Women’s Building were rarely filled with about 30 of her biggest fans. Little’s high school volleyball team from Burnt Hills came to watch her play a day before the high school team’s state playoff match at Cicero-North Syracuse High School. High school teammates, friends, family members and former coaches made the match against DePaul on Friday special for Little.A few carried signs crafted with red glitter and glue that read, ‘I Love E-Little.’ The entire group cheered loudly when its hometown player was introduced before the match.‘The player introductions were a little crazy,’ Little said. ‘I’ve never heard cheers that loud.’Little, one of only two players from New York on the SU roster, dominated during her four years at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School and helped her school capture two straight state championships. With many of her former teammates and coaches in the stands Friday, it was a chance to look back at her entire career beginning as a freshman in high school and culminating this season at Syracuse.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBurnt Hills-Ballston Lake head coach Gary Bynon said she contributed to the school’s state title run as a freshman, and was a leader for the Spartans’ second straight state title. Little was honored as the New York State Gatorade Player of the Year during her senior year.‘We have a tradition at our school of winning games,’ Bynon said. ‘No player was bigger for us than Erin was during that span.’That’s high praise from Bynon, who has coached many talented players throughout the years.The Spartans team won its 300th consecutive game in the Suburban Council in September, and Little wasn’t the only big-name player to contribute to that streak. Former SU middle blocker Sarah Morton, a team co-captain in 2009, graduated from Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake, too.Bynon’s star player had to earn her way on the court throughout her SU career, though. Former head coach Jing Pu used Little sparingly this season, favoring other outside hitters Andrea Fisher and Ying Shen.But Kelly Morrisroe increased Little’s playing time when she took over as interim head coach in mid-October. Morrisroe said the playing time helped win her team more games. The Orange won six of its last nine games to earn the fourth seed in the Big East tournament, which begins Friday.‘Erin’s veteran leadership really helped our team, especially our team offense,’ Morrisroe said. ‘But just having her on the court helps.’Bynon had the same experience coaching Little in high school.Bynon said he took his team to watch Little play Friday because she does everything ‘the right way.’ He called Little a great role model both on and off the court.‘You couldn’t ask for a better representation of our program,’ Bynon said.Spartans libero Siena Wilder and setter Natalie Ziskin are two players who see Little the same way their coach does. Wilder said seeing Little play at the Division I level gives her reason to believe she can play in college, too.Ziskin recalled fond memories of playing with Little.‘I was just in eighth grade when I played with her, but she was our go-to player for everything,’ Ziskin said. ‘Not just for volleyball, either. We’d go to her for advice.’SU sophomore Amanda Kullman, who gave a pregame speech on Senior Day two days later about all three graduating players, couldn’t agree more. Kullman said she’s going to miss having players like Little around.Little finished with seven kills and three blocks against DePaul on Friday and helped SU defeat Notre Dame in the regular-season finale on Sunday. For the senior, her final weekend playing at home at Syracuse was a memorable one.‘It’s great to see old coaches and new players before the last game,’ Little said. ‘Especially when they’re cheering that loudly.’[email protected]last_img

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