Wednesday, September 11, 2013
VolleyCards lose thriller in Memorial to Cats
WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
-Louisville falls in five sets to Wildcats 25-17, 23-25, 20-25, 25-19, 15-11
Despite awesome kill efforts from front liners Maya McClendon, Janelle Jenkins and Randi Ewing....Louisville Volleyball fell to UK in five sets Tuesday in Lexington at Memorial Coliseum.
The gym was as hot as the action on the court. It's what you get at Memorial. The media room is 68 degrees...it feels 88 at courtside.
In the first game, the Cards started slowly and fell behind the Cats 5-3 before McClendon and Janelle Jenkins rallied the UofL to a 11-11 tie. Two kills by Jenkins sparked a 6-0 run that put Louisville ahead to stay at 17-11. We got a classic Brooke Mattingly stomp after a kill that made it 20-13 and the Cards won the first one by eight...25-17....a block by Ewing and UK error providing the final two points.
UK wasn't going to crawl away meekly. Despite Louisville enjoying 4-2 and 7-5 leads...after a Emily Juhl block, the Cats went on a 7-0 run and stretched the lead to 22-14. Louisville started to chip away. McClendon's kill made it 23-18. The Cards cut the advantage to three at 24-21...necessitating a UK time out. Two Cardinal scores, the second one from McClendon again had it 24-23 Cats. It was as close as the Cards got, though...Kentucky winning 25-23.
Louisville looked absolutely horrible to start game three...falling behind 6-0 early. Kentucky held sizeable advantage at 11-4, 16-12 and 18-13 before the Cards made it slightly interesting...getting within two at 17-15 and three at 22-19 and 23-20 before UK won the contest 25-20 and took a 2-1 lead in the match.
For as bad as the Cards looked in starting game three, they looked absolutely brilliant to begin game four. A 3-0 lead ballooned to 6-0 and 7-1 (after a Ewing kill). Louisville maintained the advantage...leading by seven several times before UK rallied to make it 21-17(on a blown call by the SEC officials) .There was more of that to come later. A Jenkins kill made it 24-17, though...and a Juhl block finished it at 25-17.
Fifth game...first one to fifteen wins. The fans for both schools were caught up in the action. About 200 Cardinal fans made the trek to Lexington and they included former NBA great and father of Randi Ewing...Patrick Ewing. I bet Jeff at halftime he could take him one-on-one on the hardwood. Jeff didn't seem too anxious to challenge the 7'1" father.
In the final..the Cards hung in early at 2-2 but found themselves trailing 7-3 and looking a bit desperate. Enter Emily Juhl to serve. Juhl's two "aces" gave Louisville a 8-7 lead. Kentucky battled back. At 11-11, a missed UK spike attempt sailed wide and appeared to give Louisville a 12-11 advantage. For the third time in the game, the SEC officials gathered around the ladder and determined that the ball must have touched a Cardinal defender and awarded the point to Kentucky.
The Cards didn't seem the same after that. McClendon was blocked at the net to make it 13-11 UK. The Cats won a long volley to get to match point. Louisville provided it when they couldn't decide who was going to hit a ball near the net during the final possession and it fell untouched to the floor.
15-11 UK. 3-2 match...UK.
In defeat, freshman McClendon looked spectacular. She recorded 17 kills to lead UofL. Great efforts also from Jenkins, Ewing, Juhl and Caitlin Welch. Brooke Mattingly seemed a bit "off" tonight...with just four kills through four games.
UK did block well at the net. Somehow, McClendon and Jenkins kept fining a way through from the outside corners.
But, sadly...the final analysis is that Louisville battled hard for over two and one half hours and had a chance to take home a hard fought victory but could not win the final four possessions. Give credit to Kentucky's killing crew of Alexanra Morgan, Shelby Workman, Sara Schwartzwalder and Whitney Billings. They're the real deal.
Anne Kordes on the match:
"I was very proud the way we came back more than once to stave off Kentucky early in the match when they made a push. Errors played a role at times for both teams. Taking care of the ball against a good team is crucial. You have to take control of the ball," said Kordes. "Their block of Maya in the fifth may have tipped it to them. We had to go away from her and then we sort of flubbed the last play."
The Cards go to 2-4 on the season. They return to the sauna known as Memorial for Friday action in The Bluegrass Battle against Minnesota and Saturday against Pepperdine. If you go, be sure to hydrate. It just might be hotter in there than it will be down the street in Commonwealth for the football game on Saturday between the Cards and Cats....