After suffering multiple injuries, Syracuse outside hitter Wlaszczuk becoming consistent contributor

first_imgGosia Wlaszczuk always heard the benefits of playing in the United States.While playing for Polish professional club AZS Bialystok in high school, she received advice and guidance from teammates, some of whom were 10 years older than her. Though she was already playing at a high level, Wlaszczuk seized the opportunity to play in the United States and study at Syracuse University.“The most important thing for me was to study,” Wlaszczuk said. “I knew if I stayed in Poland and played in this professional league I would never play and study at the same time.”Injuries have hampered Wlaszczuk’s play in her first year as an outside hitter at Syracuse. But she’s worked to overcome her setbacks and become a solid contributor for the Orange in a season where lineups have shifted constantly.“Gosia’s been consistent, like a utility player,” Syracuse assistant coach Stephanie Cantway said. “We’ve used her as a setter, we’ve used her as a libero, we’ve used her as an outside, we’ve used her as a right side, we’ve used her as pretty much everything except a middle.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWlaszczuk said she has the talent to be a great player on the college level. She hasn’t been able to show her best to her teammates and coaches yet because of a string of injuries.In her senior year of high school, Wlaszczuk broke her leg while playing with AZS Bialystok. Though the injury held her back from much of her last season, a mutual friend of Wlaszczuk’s and Syracuse head coach Leonid Yelin sent her game tape to the Syracuse program. She was then offered a chance to play in the United States.Wlaszczuk said she didn’t take her training seriously in the summer between high school and college. She came to Syracuse out of shape and injured herself again in her first practice at SU.“I came here in my first practice after four months of not doing anything,” Wlaszczuk said. “I started serving or hitting and my shoulder was just destroyed.”That injury held Wlaszczuk out of practice for most of the preseason. Since then, she’s pulled stomach muscles and hurt her thigh.“Basically, she didn’t come in good shape, and that’s why there have been so many injuries,” Yelin said.Wlaszczuk has played well through the injuries. Though she’s only played 59 sets in her freshman year, she ranks third on the Orange in assists and fifth in kills. She’s stepped up in some big moments, tallying 14 kills in a loss to Louisville when leading scorer Silvi Uattara was limited to just two kills.Wlaszczuk finally feels like she’s getting healthy enough to perform near her best. She’s watched her teammates improve all season, making her own situation more frustrating. She’s starting to feel more comfortable with only four games remaining on the Orange schedule.But she knows she needs to improve her training habits this offseason.“Now I think I’m getting to my shape, finally, when we have four games left,” Wlaszczuk said. “I need to work harder in January and go to the gym more when I’m home. Hopefully I won’t have these injuries next year.” Comments Published on October 30, 2012 at 12:21 am Contact Jacob: jspramuk@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+last_img