Christina Oyawale struggles to live up to natural ability with more playing time

Christina Oyawale struggles to live up to natural ability with more playing time

first_imgChristina Oyawale is not ready. Much like Syracuse, Oyawale has struggled with consistency early in the season. The redshirt sophomore has tried to make her mark on a team that is searching for production.During her time at Parkdale (Maryland) High School, Oyawale didn’t have to search. She showcased her natural ability, tallying 157 kills and 38 blocks in 14 games her senior year.The first time Parkdale’s athletic director, Brian Moore, saw Oyawale play, he knew she would play in college.“She left a legacy,” Moore said, “she certainly raised the level of play of the program.”At Syracuse, Oyawale hasn’t had the same success. The Orange (1-9) has zero seniors on its roster and the young players have not found a way to transfer their potential to wins. Oyawale, one of just four third-year players for SU, is getting an opportunity to develop her raw talent. The 6-foot-4 outside hitter has already played in more sets through the first 10 games this year (23) than all of last season (22). She has started two matches this year and has recorded 17 kills.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBut she hasn’t reached her potential just yet.“She may be one year away,” Syracuse head coach Leonid Yelin said. “The lack of experience is holding her.”Oyawale didn’t start playing club volleyball until late in her high school career. It wasn’t until her senior year that she saw herself as a volleyball player, Moore said. But Yelin saw her potential through her club team.For all the promise Oyawale holds, she has struggled to become a contributor with SU. She redshirted her freshman year, which helped her develop, Oyawale said.She’s still working on her blocking, an aspect that she said could use improvement despite having the necessary physical traits to fit the role.“Good size, quick, and good jump,” Yelin said. “… Talking to her, we believe she is going to work hard to get better. She developed a lot.”During the summer, Oyawale organized offseason workouts, Yelin said. After three years at SU without much playing time, the head coach was shocked.However, for all the work Christina has done to improve over the last couple seasons, she has failed to put it all together this year, just like the team as a whole. Yelin wants to play her more in conference play, but said she’s more of a liability against tougher teams.“I am going to try to be better for my team,” Oyawale said.As her collegiate career progresses, Oyawale is starting to show some of the promise that both Moore and Yelin saw in her early stages of development. In Syracuse’s lone win of the season against Siena, Oyawale contributed a season high 8.5 points.“Someday, I think she’ll be big time,” Yelin said.That day hasn’t come yet. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on September 22, 2016 at 12:14 am Contact Nick: [email protected] | @nick_a_alvarezlast_img

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