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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Cards sweep Ball State in Volleyball, Purdue next...More UofL vs.UK WBB analysis.

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SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

-Lola leads Cards over Cards

-More UofL vs. UK breakdown

-Men's hoops wins and soccer plays tonight

>>>>>Just in...9:27 p.m. Cards lose to Purdue in 4 sets in Volleyball. Purdue took  the first game 25-14, Louisville fought back to win game two 28-26...but Purdue swept the Cards out of the gym 25-11 and 25-16 in the final two games. Lots of wide hits and getting blocked at the net for the Volley Cards tonight. WE'LL have a full recap in the Sunday Edition of CARDINAL COUPLE. <<<<<

The University of Louisville Volleyball team swept first round opponent Ball State in NCAA Tournament action last night in West Lafayette, IN. The Cards won in straight sets 25-22, 25-15, 25-20. Lola Arslanbekova stepped up with 19 kills for the Cards, who improve to 24-8 on the season.

"We were able to move the ball around and spread out their defense and try to attack their smaller blockers because their middles were big. One big factor tonight was our passing. It was crisp and we were able to stay in system. We stayed in our game plan and that was a key for us." -Anne Kordes, UofL head volleyball coach.

The Cards started out the first game with a 4-0 run and led 14-9 before the Ball State Cardinals tied it up at 15-15. They never could grab the lead, however and Louisville got four straight points out of Kaitlynn James en route to a 24-18 lead. Ball State hung tough, running four point in a row to climb within two before Lola ended the game with a slam to give the Lady Cards a three point decision.

Louisville started out hot in game two...jumping out to a 6-0 advantage. They never were seriously challenged and Lola produced another slam with the score 25-15...advantage Louisville. Louisville hit for an outstanding .414 in the second contest and Emily Juhl gave the Cards five kills en route to the win.

After the halftime break, Louisville struggled early and trailed 8-7. They regained control of the final game behind Juhl again, soaring out to a 18-13 lead. The Cards couldn't shake the Ball State squad, though, and called a timeout, clinging on to a 23-20 lead. They sent the BSU squad home with blocks from James and Brooke Mattingly on the next two plays to secure game and match. 

 Anne Kordes' squad advances to play Purdue tonight at 7:30 p.m. The Boilermakers knocked off OVC champion Morehead State in the second game of the evening in Holloway Gymnasium. The contest will be televised by the BIG TEN Network. The two schools met early in the season in the BIG EAST/BIG TEN challenge at Illinois...the Boilermakers taking a 3-2 win.

Congratulations to Lola and the girls...and keep it going tonight!

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With the UofL vs. UK women's basketball game a day away...it's time for Paul and Sonja's look at the contest. We'll be in attendance Sunday, watching the contest from media row. A special thanks to Susan Lax, women's basketball sports information director, for securing the chairs for us. She even sent us information on how to get to Memorial Coliseum from Louisville and directions for media parking. Tip of the hat and a "job well done!" to Susan...

Paul:  I'm looking at this game from a statistical standpoint.

1) Rebounding - Louisville 47.8 - Kentucky 47.7 a game  Advantage: Cards

2) Shooting % - Louisville .449 - Kentucky .414 a game  Advantage: Cards

3) Free throw % - Louisville .716 - Kentucky .640 a game Advantage: Cards

4) Fouls - Louisville 146 - Kentucky 135. Advantage : Cats

5) Three point % - Louisville .338 - Kentucky .294. Advantage : Cards

I feel these are five important statistics. The Cards win four out of the five. Other things to consider are home court advantage (Kentucky's), experience (Louisville-with two players who have been to the final four and nine to a Sweet Sixteen) and depth (Louisville -who plays ten players 12 minutes or more a game, compared to UK - who plays eight.)

Strength of schedule goes to Louisville so far also, having faced two top 25 opponents so far this year, compared to 0 for UK.

I pick Louisville to win this game by eight points. I expect a medium range on the score...maybe 68-60.  

SONJA

Bitter are the memories of Louisville's last appearance in Memorial two years ago. Paul and I sat there with my mom in the bleachers and watched a trouncing of epic proportions. Matthew Mitchell could have taken the foot off the accelerator in the second half against the diminished and over-matched Cardinals...but he didn't. That's got to be in the mindset of Shelby, Asia, Mo, Becky and Coach Walz and staff. Memorial can get loud. The sightlines are tough at times in the box-like configuration. They have ceiling fans above the court (no, I'm not kidding) which can affect the trajectory of a shot, if they're running too fast. Too slow, and the place becomes a boiler room. 

The Cards come back with a powerhouse and juggernaut this year, though. Depth galore at each position, a team on a mission and prolific scorers in Monique Reid, Becky Burke, Shoni Schimmel, Cierra Warren and Bria Smith. The Cards are stronger on the front line and should control the paint. However, unforced turnovers and foul troubles have plagued the Cards at times. Slow starts and defensive lapses more than once.

Weighing in all these factors brings me to the conclusion at first that Louisville might lose this game by the narrowest of margins. But, I'm impressed with the togetherness, unity, desire and ability of this flock of Birds this year. Shoni Schimmel won't allow this one to get away and Mo inside and Becky outside will provide the Cards with a slim win. Make it 79-78 Cards.  

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Congratulations to Rick Pitino's men for the overtime win over Vandy. Nice comebacks after being down a few points and Peyton Siva gets the game winner on one of is "Oh, no..there he goes again.." drives down the middle. Never should have gone to overtime, though...freshman Chane Behanan missing a easy layup at the end regulation that could have won it.

We're still not sure what to think of this version of the men' team this year except that they do play top-notch defense and they've got an injury list that could fill up a legal pad. Still, they keep winning. Gotta admire that.

And, while struggling to stay awake in the second half of this 9:15 p.m.start, I came to the conclusion that this team just might give the mighty All-American, McDonald's laden, dribble-driving Cats a game on New Year's Eve day. Maybe I was woozy...

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Men's Soccer with a re-match against UCLA for the umpteenth time tonight in Cardinal Park in NCAA Tournament action. No snow this year. Go get 'em, kickers! Hoping Donnie might read this and send a few words about the match for Sunday. Earth to Donnie, Earth to Donnie....

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