Volleyball Moves to 3-0 in Conference with Win
Despite Georgia Tech's previously undefeated home record, the Louisville Cardinals headed do to Atlanta yesterday and handed the Yellow Jackets their first home loss and third conference loss of the season. GT dropped to 0-3 in conference with the loss while the Cards remained undefeated. Louisville now sits at 10-4 on the year with a good chance to move to 11-4 (4-0) tomorrow when they take on Clemson in South Carolina.
Louisville's win last night was of the sweep variety, as the Cards took the three sets 25-16, 25-21, and 25-17. Georgia Tech was never close in the first two sets but were sitting at 23-21 in set number 2 before the Cards put the game away with back to back blocks of Mikaila Dowd. It was the same issue that we have seen in the second set numerous times this season where the Cards just lost focus a bit and lost that hitting edge. Fortunately, the additional errors in this one were not enough for Georgia Tech to steal a set and extend this match. The crowd in the arena seemed very into the match, especially during that second set where it seemed like they might have a way to claw their way back. Had Louisville dropped the second set, the rest of the match may have gone quite differently.
After the set break, Louisville caught fire. After a quick barrage of points traded led to the two teams being tied at three, the Cards went on to win 15 of the next 20 points to go up 18-8 and effectively ice the game. Louisville hit .543 in the set with 21 kills, only 5 fewer than their previous two sets combined. 21 kills is insane, as it means that only 4 points came from opponent errors or blocks. The Cards did everything right in the third set and it showed. One could argue that the show of quality from UofL was actually a negative for Georgia Tech, but even if playing a poor defense, the hitters have to find their spots. Louisville was doing that in the third set.
Louisville was paced in the third set by Megan Sloan, who snagged 8 of her team leading 12 kills in the third. Emily Scott finished second on the team with 11 kills on the night and did so on only 16 attacking attempts. Scott had no errors and added in 6 block assists to stand out to me as the hitter of the night. Melanie McHenry was consistent, finishing with 8 kills at 2-3 per set, but still struggled with errors. McHenry is one of the best all-around players on the team and has a ton of talent at the outside hitting position, but she has been slumping hard of late. For Louisville to finish with the type of season they did last year, and also improve on that finish, they'll need McHenry to break out of whatever fog is holding her down.
All in all, the victory is a good one for Coach Dani Busboom-Kelly's squad, despite the minor downturn in the second set. The Cards looked dominant in two of three sets and they'll need performances like that throughout entire matches down the stretch against some of the better ACC teams. They'll especially need to be able to recreate that kind of performance if they'd like to have any success in the NCAA tournament. Another chance to test the rotation will come tomorrow against a struggling Clemson team. The Tigers are 9-7 on the season and fell to 0-3 in conference with a home loss to Notre Dame last night. Clemson will be playing only their fifth home match of the season tomorrow against Louisville, and they had their fourth largest crowd in history last night, but in their three matches against Boston College, Syracuse, and Notre Dame, the Tigers picked up only one set. Louisville should be able to play their game tomorrow and leave town with a tidy victory. That match is set for 1PM on Sunday and will be available on ACC Network Extra.
Cardinal Couple Radio Hour
Jared gave a good preview of the packed weekend in his article yesterday, so why not join us for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour to start it all off. The "A-Team" will be in the studio in full force this week and we've got plenty to talk about. While the week may have been a bit slower than an average fall sports week, we'll discuss victories aplenty and preview the big games the rest of the weekend. Tune in to WCHQ at 11AM for all of the joy and excitement of Louisville women's sports. Check out the links on the side of the site for more info!
Until next time, Go Cards!