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Saturday, October 6, 2018

Volleyball Remains Undefeated -- SATURDAY CARDINAL COUPLE

Volleyball Sweeps Duke in Cardinal Arena

Just mere hours before something dreadful happened on one end of Floyd Street, Dani Busboom Kelly's serve-and-net Cards were making something nice happen on the other end. As Jeff promised last Saturday on the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour, Louisville came out of this week at 5-0 on the ACC season. They didn't do it in a total of 6 sets, as Jeff assured us would happen, but they did get the sweep of Duke last night, despite the Blue Devils staying relatively close. The Cards won 25-15, 25-16, and 25-21 to move to 12-4 on the year and 5-0 in the ACC. They remain in the tie for first in the conference and should be in a position to hold or advance their standing in the top 25, depending on how tomorrow's match against Wake Forest goes.

The Cards came out hot yesterday, hitting a smoking .552 in the first set. They had no errors on their way to a comfortable victory in the first. After stretching the early lead to 10-4, Louisville didn't look back on their way to the first set win. The second set was a bit similar, unusually. The Cards did add 3 errors in the second, but despite Duke's early efforts to stay in the set, the Cards turned a 9-7 advantage into an 18-8 advantage in the blink of an eye. Louisville hit .346 in that one, which was a general improvement on the typical second set we've seen so far this season.

Of course, the Cards had to save that set meltdown for some other time. Louisville hit a whopping eight
errors in the third set, but still managed to finish with a respectable .250 hitting percentage in the set. Duke came out of the set break prepared to jump on any Louisville mistakes, though, and jump they did. After an early back and forth, the Blue Devils took advantage of 4 Cardinal errors to turn a 4-6 disadvantage into a 10-6 lead. The Cards got the hitting into better shape after that rough stretch to win 13 of the next 19 points and regained the lead at 19-16. Duke was unable to recover from the body blows and Louisville finished off the sweep.

Duke is not all that great. The loss drops them to 1-4 in conference and 7-7 on the season. However, Louisville has to win these games, and it's better to see them win sweeps rather than the five set barn burner style of game they won against Clemson. The Cards have struggled a bit with consistency, but it is only Coach DBK's second season. First you compile your talent, then you get them to win games, then you get them to win games consistently. We started step two of that process last season, finishing atop the conference, but step three is eluding us. Poorly timed injuries to key players and thinning at positions that can't spare the bodies have put Louisville in a bit of a bind against some of the better teams on their schedule, but as long as the Cards keep their nose down and continue to hit the ball better each night, they'll be just fine.

Speaking of hitting the ball better, it would appear that a second Louisville player was listening in on the "Case Bashes People with Good Intentions" Hour last week. Melanie McHenry had a great game against Duke, finishing with 15 kills and only 4 errors. She did have a service error but contributed to a block assist and had only one receiving error in 11 receiving attempts. McHenry is the lifeblood of this team offensively, as the team seems to feed off of her energy and hitting. Wilma Rivera is equally as important to the success of the offense, but I feel as though when McHenry is having an off night, everyone else struggles too. Also on offense, Piper Roe, Megan Sloan, and Emily Scott continued to impress with their opportunities. It was Amanda Green's turn to struggle a bit, with 6 kills and 4 errors, but I'm not concerned about her ability to bounce back quickly before the next game.

Louisville stays at home for their next match tomorrow against Wake Forest. Wake, like Duke, sits at 1-4 in conference, but they're a dismal 6-11 overall. Louisville *should* see another sweep tomorrow, so we'll be watching to make sure they're consistent in their hitting and force Wake to beat them, rather than the Cards beating themselves. The match is at 1PM and will be available on ACC Network Extra.

Cardinal Couple Radio Hour

For the second week in a row, all four writers will be in the studio together today.

We'll talk soccer, volleyball, field hockey, and maybe even a little lacrosse, softball, or basketball. With fall sports in the thick of their seasons and spring sports getting a bit of offseason work in, this is a fun time to be a Louisville fan (as long as you ignore that one fall sport that appears to be doing their best)

Join us at 11 AM for the Cardinal Couple Radio Hour on WCHQ FM.

Until next time, Go Cards!


  1. Glad you made very little mention of football. i will pass on it also. Good job volleyball! Nicely written article, Case. Always a pleasure to read your columns.

    Curtis "Likes sports with nets" Franklin

  2. Whew we have a lot of sports to talk about today. And it appears all of them are playing at some point this weekend.


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