SUNDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-#3 Penn State sweeps Cards in Volleyball
-Meet Jeff McAdams
Back in 1968, Merle Haggard wrote and performed a country classic called "Mama Tried". Hum or sing along if you remember it. Last night in the KFC YUM! Center, in front of a record volleyball crow of 4312, it was "Lola Tried" but the Cards could not defeat the Nittany Lions...going down in straight sets 25-20, 25-17, 25-18.
|Cards warm up (photo by Jenny O' Bryan)|
It was an acid test, if you will, a chance to see how this highly heralded, BIG EAST top pick would do against a powerhouse, a perennial Final Four participant and a program that recruits and gets the best.
|(Photo by Jenny O'Bryan)|
A contest that gave Louisville a look at the next level...as Penn State took the Cards out of their game and handed Louisville their first loss of the year. It also reinforced how important Lola Arslanbekova is to Louisville Volleyball...the senior recording a game high 18 kills.
For her efforts, Lola was named to the All-Tournament team for the Cards, along with Caitlin Welch.
The Cards face another tough opponent Wednesday night in the KFC YUM! in Kentucky.
We're pleased to introduce you to the newest columnist here at Cardinal Couple. Jeff McAdams is a lifelong Cardinal fan and season ticket holder to several Cardinal Sports. Jeff sprints out of the gate with a recap of the Cardinal Volleyball matches. We like this initial effort...tell us what you think in our comments section or by e-mail at:
Of the three matches that UofL Volleyball played this weekend, which does the team wish they could forget? Probably one of the wins.
UofL was victorious over Morehead State 25-21, 20-25, 25-17 25-16, but their play was not at the level that second year coach Anne Kordes would like to see. Maybe it was the early 11 a.m. start time...but the VolleyCards certainly didn't play aggressively in the first two sets. In the third set, freshman Katie George entered the game to take over the setting duties. That change of pace seemed to jolt the Cards into action. Hannah Kvitle and George split the time running the offense for the rest of the match and the team got the job done.
The bright spot of the match was the defensive play of Caitlin Welch...who seemed to be digging everything in sight. Alli Miller also saw her first collegiate time and got the passing game going well...which got the offense on solid ground.
Thankfully, the Kordes Krew didn't have long before they could redeem themselves, and redeem themselves they really did, even though that redemption ended up in a loss in the evening session of play against #3 Penn State.
After struggling in the Friday night match against WKU, Lola Arslanbekova returned to form with 18 kills. While her overall hitting was only .227, that's more credit to the Penn State great defense. Lola was swinging well and making opportunities. PSU's defense did a great job of handling many of the shots. The rest of the team also started to come together. With so many newcomers (Six freshmen and three transfers), this is a team that is still learning how to play together.
In the first two matches against Western and Morehead, they were bumping into each other and watching balls drop to the floor...thinking the other play had it. A tell-tale sign of a team trying to jell. There really wasn't much of that in the Penn State match. The Cards played solid volleyball and started to show some coherence but they were just outplayed by a better opponent.
Penn State is beatable, but not yet by this Cardinal team. If they meet again at the end of the season (could we dream that it would be on this very same floor in the FINAL FOUR in December?) the outcome might be different.
Despite the loss, there were encouraging signs that the high level of talent that Kordes has partially inherited and partially recruited can come together and play on equal terms with the nation's elite.
More to come on Wednesday night when the preseason #13 Kentucky Wildcats motor across I-64 to the KFC YUM! Center. The in-state rivalry would make even a game of chess or bean bag toss between these two exciting. The Cards out for payback after last year's loss in Memorial Coliseum. Here's hoping it's the first of Cardinal wins against the Cats this week.
A 7 p.m. start. We hope to see you there.