Fairs and Jenkins Show the Way
Thirteenth ranked Wisconsin visited the KFC Yum! Center as part of the Big Ten/ACC challenge and left with two victories in hand.
The first was against North Carolina Friday evening, the second was against our Cardinals last night in a 3-1 match (25-19, 17-25, 25-21, 25-19)
The Cardinal wide netters have now dropped three matches of their five so far this season, but before you get too down on the Kordes Krew, do keep in mind that all three losses have been against teams that are typically in the upper echelons of the national volleyball scene.
There were stretches of brilliance from the Louisville squad, including pretty much the whole victorious second set, that is very encouraging for success for much of the rest of the season. The Cards had as much as an 11-6 lead in the first set before the Badgers were able to reign it back in.
The second set started well for the Cards, getting out to a 4-1 lead, UW put a bit of run together and got to a one point lead at 4-5 before UofL re-engaged and ran it out to a 22-12 lead. They seemed to run out of gas a bit, though, finally putting the set away at 25-17.
The third set was a tight one most of the way with a tie game at 11-11 with the Badgers slowly gaining some separation for a 25-21 win.
The last set started well with Molly Sauer at the service line running out to a 5-0 lead. The Cards would get to a 7-1 lead before the shell-shocked Badgers put a run together to tie it up 7-7. It was back and forth for a bit, getting to a UW lead at 11-10 before they ran the lead up to 20-12. UofL would rally to make the game reasonably close, but couldn't close the whole gap with UW taking the set, and match, 25-19.
Leading the way statistically, Erin Fairs put down 16 kills on 36 attempts for a .278 hitting percentage with Janelle Jenkins following with 12 on 38 attempts for a .184 percentage (keep in mind that Janelle is hitting mostly from the right side, which tends to result in a bit lower percentages). Jenkins also kept the Cards afloat in the back row with 13 digs, which is behind only libero Molly Sauer (14), and defensive specialist Roxanne McVey (15). Freshman Aniah Philo, who is listed as an outside hitter has been pressed into duties more along the lines of a defensive specialist and contributed 9 digs. Philo did get to swing on a few rotations, giving Erin Fairs a bit of a breather, and connected on two with six attempts. An error dropped her percentage to .167.
Overall the hitting numbers aren't particularly impressive for either team as both team's defenses made their presence known. Wisconsin hit for .240 overall in the four sets, which includes a .432 in the first set, while UofL swung for a .178 percentage, including a .441 in the second set.
In the middle, Tess Clark and Maggie DeJong connected on seven and five swings respectively, both had 17 attempts. Tess did have quite a bit of impact on the defensive side of the equation, getting in on five of the eight team blocks. Jenkins had a part of three, while setter Katie George and Erin Fairs got a hand on one each. Fairs also had a solo block, and Maggie DeJong and 5'9" Maya McClendon each got solo blocks as well.
The VolleyCards will be back in action Friday at Cardinal Arena, the only weekend of play at Cardinal Arena this season, against Utah with a 7:30 start time. Come early if you want to see the Seton Hall Pirates vs the Ohio Bobcats. Saturday sees the rest of the action in the Active Ankle Challenge with UofL vs Seton Hall at 10am (early start time!), and then in the nightcap vs Ohio at 7:30. There will be a game following UofL's at around noon between Ohio and Utah, and then one before the nightcap between Seton Hall and Utah at 5:30.