WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
- CARDS BEGIN FIRST ACC SEASON
For Anne Kordes and the University of Louisville Volleyball team, the 2014 season as a member of the ACC means revisiting some former foes, taking on some new challenges and going through a non-conference slate that will be demanding.
30 matches and nine nationally ranked opponents, 11 regionally ranked teams and nine teams in the top 60 RPI.
UofL gets underway in the ACC/B1G Challenge (yes, it's the old Big 10). The Cards and Notre Dame go against Wisconsin and Minnesota in Minneapolis on Aug. 29-30. They'll host the Active Ankle Challenge in Cardinal Arena on Sept 5-6 with Tennessee State, Appalachian State and Cincinnati coming to town.
The Kentucky Wildcats visit the KFC YUM! on Sept 9th. Louisville will play in the Comfort Inn and Suites Invitational
next at Morehead where the Eagles, Arizona State, Louisville and Northern Illinois will participate.
Rounding out the non-conference slate is a trip to Houston for the Rice Invitational....where Louisville will face the Owls, Stephen F. Austin and Texas Southern.
Conference play begins Sept. 26th. in the KFC YUM! Center. 18 conference games...nine at home...ending with a three game homestretch at the end of November.
The ACC does not have a conference volleyball tournament.
Tougher foes, according to our volleyball guru Worldwide Jeff, four starters graduated and seven matches in the KFC YUM! Center. Interestingly, the Cards will begin their home slate in Cardinal Arena in September and end it there in November. Scheduling conflicts, we assume...but when packed...Cardinal Arena can be a very loud and nerve-racking place for an opponent to visit.
Louisville does return AAC Freshman of the Year Maya McClendon, outside hitter Janelle Jenkins and setter Katie George. A couple of transfers and a solid returning nucleus will give Louisville a chance at another great season...but don't expect the Cards to run the conference slate undefeated like they did last year.
A rebuilding year for Anne Kordes? Perhaps. Losing to graduation the phenomenal Caitlin Welch at libero, strong middle blockers Brooke (Stomp) Mattingly and Randi Ewing...plus steady, dependable Emily Juhl as an outside hitter leaves some gaps to fill. Hannah Kvitle was a go-to back up at setter/defensive specialist who transferred at the end of the season.
It's hard to classify it as a rebuilding year when you ran the table in the AAC the previous season...and each year coaches face the task of replacing graduating players...but Kordes has talent where it counts the most in two extremely talented "kill" artists in McClendon and Jenkins and they had between them six of the top ten kill totals per match in the 2013 season.
Opening serve is just nine weeks away...get out the net, knee pads and Anne's clipboard....Volleyball is back!