Maria Tritou and Gabriella Knutson use backhand shot to elevate game

first_img Published on April 21, 2016 at 12:33 am Contact Jake: [email protected] After Maria Tritou ripped a two-handed backhand down the sideline, Virginia Tech’s Kelly Williford stumbled while reaching for the ball. Her arms were fully extended as she couldn’t catch up with the rocket shot. Williford then approached the green tarp behind the court as the ball collided into it.All Williford could do is pick up the ball and walk back to the line for the next point. And even though Tritou eventually lost the match, her backhand is what helped make a comeback attempt. That same backhand is what’s helped elevate her game during Syracuse’s five wins in their last six conference games.Seventh-seeded SU (13-7, 7-7 Atlantic Coast) opens the ACC Tournament on Thursday at 10 a.m. in Cary, North Carolina against No. 10 seed North Carolina State (15-10, 6-8) and will look to Tritou and Gabriella Knutson to continue using their backhand shot to pay dividends in the postseason.Knutson says that going to the backhand gives her more velocity on her shots that she doesn’t have with other stances and moves. The move allows Knutson to adapt to in game situations and from player to player.“I definitely get more power (from the backhand),” Knutson said. “I feel much more confident in it. I have (the ability to use) two hands and the backhand gives me (more versatility).”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textWhen Knutson goes to her backhand, the velocity drastically increases. The speed of the ball has consistently frozen opponents and the control that Knutson has with her backhand has allowed for pinpoint placement of balls throughout the court. This versatility and ability to alter the approach of every shot with such consistency has lead Knutson to the best record on the team at 14-5.Tritou too has also developed a highly successful backhand that has allowed her to become another go-to option on the team when Knutson, Valeria Salazar or Anna Shkudun are off their game. She’s won three of her last six games to close out the regular season.Tritou echoed Knutson and feels that her backhand has a more natural feel to it. As a baseline player who likes to have quick returns down the lines of the court, the backhand has become a weapon that surprises opponents before they can react.“It depends on how you feel,” Tritou said. “… I feel more comfortable with my backhand.”Head coach Younes Limam said Tritou and Knutson simply have better backhands than other players on the team. By sticking to their strengths they’re successful by allowing them to transfer their weight and get off an effective, accurate shot.“They lean through the ball more (than others),” Limam said. “They hit through the ball more using less spin.”And with the postseason coming up, assistant coach Shelley George expects Tritou and Knutson to stick with what’s worked.“It will always be their favorite shot,” George said. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+last_img

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