Who's going to be there?
Gwen Rucker didn't dress last week, fighting an illness. She did dress for the party last night, but didn't play. Presumably she's still recovering. Here's to hoping that she keeps feeling better.
Courtney Robison (sophomore transfer from West Virginia) got dressed up in a bright pink number for the party, but unfortunately, the pink number was a cast on her right arm. That didn't stop her from cheering from the bench like she always can be counted on to do, but it did prevent her from subbing in for some relief serving and on defense. The pink looks good on you Courtney, but I do hope it comes off as soon as possible, but long enough to heal up well.
Let's get that dance floor warmed up
If you've never been to a UofL Volleyball match, they've embraced the dramatic lights-off, video-on-the-big-screen, driving-music-with-a-strong-beat intro that you're used to with basketball. Its a great start for the match and always a lot of fun to get the crowd up and cheering, usually topped off with the inimitable Sean Moth's "Ladies and Gentlemen on your feet...".
Unfortunately, last night, after all of the starters were introduced and it was time to get out on the court and start play...the lights didn't come back on. So we had a 20 or 30 minute delay while the lights cooled down and then warmed back up. It was a good atmosphere, with the teams meeting on opposite sides of the net and showing off some of their dance moves, which I guess is also a pretty good way to stay warm and loose during a delay. Once again, Lola showed her multi talents, and maybe I'm a bit biased, but I think she totally owned the dance floor. After a bit of fun, they pulled the warm up balls back and out hit some balls around to stay warm and loose.
The lights did come back on and play got under way. Louisville came out and played good ball in the first set, this one was never really in much doubt.
Things did get a bit more tense in the second set. DePaul got in on the block party at the net with some good blocking. The Cards' passing got a bit erratic in the second set, and that, of course, just throws the whole offense out of whack. When that happens you get things like Defensive Specialist Haley Pouliezos having to take attack attempts, then you get a DS with a statistical -1.000 attack percentage, and it just ends up being a bad scene all around. Of course, Haley was doing what she does, which is whatever is necessary to try to keep the ball in play and keep the Cards moving forward. That hit didn't work out for the best, but, really, it was a broken up play and she did a great job even getting a shot at it. With six digs in the match Haley contributed well. This is a good lesson that its not all about hitting percentages.
After the set break...well, let's just say that we got the win. DePaul had the lead a couple of the times during the set, and neither team ever lead by more than 3 points. Another one where it wasn't pretty, but the VolleyCards dug down and got the job done.
You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here
The KFC Yum! Center facilities folks were probably glad the party ended when it did. They had a scant few hours to get the volleyball/basketball setup (the awesome volleyball Sport Court gets laid down on top of the basketball court) out of the way so Carrie Underwood's crew could get in the place today and setup for her concert tonight.
What do we get to take away from this party? Well, we have another example of the Cards digging down and not giving up. Beyond that, I don't know that there's a whole lot to be learned from this one. I'm sure Anne Kordes, Lee Maes, and Melissa Stark-Bean will have specific things to deal with, but for us as fans, I think the best thing we can do is be glad we got the win and be ready to come back for more play.
Where's the next party?
Sunday afternoon at 2pm back at the KFC Yum! Center versus Notre Dame. Debbie Brown can always be counted on to get the best from her team, but they are struggling. They were 7-5 coming into this weekend, but most of their losses have come against a brutal non-conference schedule (#1 UCLA, #3 Nebraska, #18 San Diego and #2 USC). It took them all 5 sets to knock off an also-struggling Cincinnati Bearcats team last night, so we should be able to keep to our winning ways, but you can never overlook the Irish at the wide net.