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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday Cardinal Couple - Volleyball Preview...Angel Invited


*******SCORE UPDATE*******

Incredible. Atlanta Dream blows a 16 point lead going into the 4th quarter at home and falls to the Chicago Sky 81-80.

Dream interrupted.

 Elena Della Donne schooling Angel McCoughtry time after time. Angel's potential game winner bouncing, bouncing around the rim.


Kudos to Shoni for hitting her only basket of the game to give Atlanta the lead late. 

We will speak no more of this. 


Big 10/ACC Challenge

This Friday is the season opener for UofL Volleyball, so I wanted to take a minute to preview the action.  The team will be participating in the Big 10/ACC Challenge, which is being held this year in Minneapolis, MN.  In past years, UofL has participated in several of these challenges, including a Big East/Big 10 Challenge that occurred over the course of several years involving Louisville, Cincinnati, Purdue, and Illinois.  This year, Louisville and Notre Dame return as conference-mates and team up against Big 10 stalwarts Minnesota and Wisconsin.  Because its not yet conference competition time, the conference-mates will not play each other, despite being in the same venue, but each team will play both teams from the other conference.

The ACC has a serious challenge on its hands, here.  In the preseason coaches poll, Wisconsin comes in at 6th place, and collected 8 first-place votes in doing so.  Minnesota follows along at 12th.  The difference may be in experience, with Wisconsin having 10 of their 15 roster spots being Juniors or Seniors, while Minnesota has 10 of their 13 being Freshmen and Sophomores.  Neither UofL nor Notre Dame make an appearance in the preseason top 25.

The Big 10, like the Big 12, is known for size and power in Volleyball, and these teams are no exception.  I have spoken on The Cardinal Couple Radio Show at times about how its nice to have tall setters, and Wisconsin's likely starting setting, Lauren Carlini, is a whopping 6'2".  The extra height for blocking in having a tall setter can make a big difference.  The likely starting setter for Minnesota, Katie Schau, is less of a blocking concern, only measuring in at 5'8", though they do have a setter on the roster coming in at 6'1".  Wisconsin has the overall size advantage, with two players coming in at 6'4", and four at 6'3".  Minnesota matches up with Louisville better, with two 6'3" players and numerous in the 6'2" and 6'1" range.  For Louisville, Tara Gowan, Laura Blab, and Tess Clark all measure up at 6'3", but the drop off beyond that is pretty steep, with Brooke Betts and the redshirting Javonni Faucette reaching 6'1", Maggie DeJong gets to 6'0" and Janelle Jenkins gets close at 5'11".  Height isn't everything, though, as Maya McClendon aptly demonstrates by only measuring in at 5'9".

Midwestern schools tend to play more powerful, but slower, offenses, though Wisconsin is looking to speed up their offense a bit this year.  I would expect Minnesota to work for a faster pace as well, but this could be great for an overall smaller UofL team that has been playing more up-tempo offenses every year of Anne Kordes' tenure.  A faster offense tends to mean less power, which can help out UofL as well; as defense, particularly digging and passing, has been a point of emphasis for Kordes and assistant coach Lee Maes in Louisville practices.  It does make blocking more difficult...the point of a faster offense is to try to get your shots out to your hitters before the other team has a chance to move their blockers in position, but blocking hasn't been as big of an aspect of Louisville's game since the Leonid Yellin years.

Overall, I would expect overall fast paced and exciting games that should keep you on the edge of your seats.  The first match is at 5:30pm ET on Friday vs Wisconsin, with the match against the home team, Minnesota, coming at 8pm on Saturday.  The Minnesota match will be televised on the Big 10 Network (BTN).

Angel Going for more Gold

Angel McCoughtry has been invited to participate in the USA Women's World Championship TeamTraining Camp.  27 players are on the roster for the Training Camp, and a final roster of 12 will be selected from the Training Camp to compete at the 2014 FIBA World Championships in Ankara and Istanbul (not Constantinople) Turkey in late September and early October.


The coaching staff for the World Championship Team consists of head coach Geno Auriemma of Connecticut, and assistants Doug Bruno (DePaul), Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx), and Dawn Staley (South Carolina)


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